HC Deb 15 January 1964 vol 687 cc191-2
1. Mr. Hector Hughes

asked the Civil Lord of the Admiralty if he will make a statement on the work, progress and results achieved by the international squadron of research vessels exploring the southern seas; and when they will turn their attention to the North Sea and adjacent seas.

The Civil Lord of the Admiralty (Mr. John Hay)

The International Indian Ocean Expedition will not complete its research programme until September of this year and it is too early to assess the preliminary results. In due course, data received from R.R.S. "Discovery" will be published by the Royal Society on behalf of the National Oceanographic Council.

I would refer the hon. and learned Gentleman to the reply which I gave him on 19th June last in which I stated that there is no proposal that the group of ships which have converged on the Indian Ocean to play their parts in this international project of common world interest should transfer their activities to the North Sea or northern waters.

Mr. Hughes

I am obliged to the hon. Gentleman for that reply, but does he realise that in fishing matters his first duty is to fishermen in British waters, and will he take steps to see that whatever scientific advantages ensue from the present expedition are made public so that the British fishing industry, and, in particular, the Scottish fishing industry, may be helped? Is he aware that there are many problems outstanding which call for such assistance?

Mr. Hay

Yes—I am much obliged to the hon. and learned Gentleman—but I must point out that I have no direct responsibility for fisheries or fishery research. However, it is true that some of the lessons being learned by this survey in the Indian Ocean may have beneficial results when applied to fishery research in general in other parts of the world.