HC Deb 03 February 1964 vol 688 c810
20. Mr. Hector Hughes

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, in view of the fact that the Government of Iceland claims the whole of the continental shelf and refuses to be bound by any agreement or convention which implies that her fisheries jurisdiction is limited to 12 miles, what further steps he intends to take to protect British fishing in waters where they have traditionally fished.

Mr. P. Thomas

In the Exchange of Notes of 11 th March, 1961, settling the Anglo-Icelandic fisheries dispute, the Icelandic Government agreed to give the British Government six months' notice of any move to extend Iceland's fisheries jurisdiction beyond twelve miles. They also agreed that either side could refer any dispute in relation to such extension to the International Court of Justice. So far Iceland has not informed us of any move to extend her fishery limits beyond twelve miles. If she does, Her Majesty's Government will consider the situation in the light of the agreement I have mentioned.

Mr. Hughes

Does the Minister realise that that Answer does not go far enough and that, notwithstanding the recent international conference on fisheries in London, many of these points are still outstanding, to the prejudice of British fisheries? Will the Minister or his colleagues take advantage of the forthcoming visit of an Icelandic delegation to this country—next week, I think—to discuss these problems and issue a comprehensive and detailed categorical report on these outstanding questions in such a way as to help the British fishing industry?

Mr. Thomas

I am sorry that the hon. and learned Gentleman does not think that my Answer goes far enough. In view of the agreement which we have with Iceland, it is as far as I can go.