HC Deb 04 February 1965 vol 705 cc1323-5

(1) In section 9 of the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries (Protection) (Scotland) Act 1951 (saving for certain acts which would otherwise be offences) for the words "where such act relates to salmon" there shall be substituted the words "in the case of an act which relates to salmon and which is not an act specified in paragraph (a) or (b) of section 4 of this Act, with the previous permission in writing".

(2) In section 22(6) of the principal Act at the end there shall be inserted the following paragraph— (e) any act which, by virtue of section 9 of the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries (Protection) (Scotland) Act 1951, is not a contravention of either paragraph (a) or paragraph (b) of section 4 of the said Act (which paragraphs prohibit the use of any explosive substance, and of poison or other noxious substance for the taking or destroying of fish).—[Dr. Dickson Mabon.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

Dr. Dickson Mabon

I beg to move, That the Clause be read a Second time.

The new Clause is tabled in response to a promise that I made in Committee. The hon. Member for Moray and Nairn (Mr. G. Campbell), with his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Edinburgh, Pentlands (Mr. Wylie), moved an Amendment in an endeavour to fill a lacuna in the position arising from the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries (Protection) (Scotland) Act, 1951, and the Rivers (Prevention of Pollution) (Scotland) Act. 1951.

As I pointed out at the time—the hon. Member for Moray and Nairn accepted it—the Amendment was not completely intact in that it failed to protect the statutory interests of river purification authorities. Naturally, we have discussed the matter with representatives of the district fishery boards concerned, and as a consequence I am able to move the new Clause. It extends Section 22 of the 1951 Act to provide that acts done for scientific and suchlike purposes by virtue of Section 9 of the 1951 Fisheries Act and which are not contraventions of the provisions of Section 4(a) or 4(b) of that Act, which prohibits the use of any explosive substance or any poison or other noxious substance with intent to take or destroy fish, will not constitute offences under Section 22 of the Rivers Act, which makes it an offence to put poisonous, noxious or polluting matter into streams. Before giving any consent the Secretary of State would, of course, consult both the river purification authority and the district fishery board.

The new Clause, goes a little further, and necessarily so, to protect the interests of river purification authorities, as it now limits the consent of the district board to acts done for scientific purposes, in so far as they relate to salmon, to an offence under Section 4(c) of the Fisheries Act, such as the use of electrical devices, but not under Section 22 of the Rivers Act. We think, in all modesty, that we have met the point put forward in Committee and, looking at the matter from many points of view, it seems now to be adequately arranged.

5.30 p.m.

Mr. Gordon Campbell (Moray and Nairn)

On this Clause I also thank the Government. The hon. Member said that he would put down an Amendment in, order to carry out the purpose which we described in Committee and, as far as I can see, this Clause will do so. I entirely accept that, with the expert knowledge available to him, he has been able to draft something which was better than the Amendment we moved in Committee. Indeed, the provision has become a new Clause which will be quite a substantial amendment to the Bill.

I realise that quite a lot may depend upon the interpretation of the word "scientific" but, from what the hon. Gentleman said, I think that it covers the case which I mentioned in Committee where it might be necessary to introduce poison into a very restricted area of a burn as part of the process of increasing fisheries since the poison would simply eliminate enemies of the young fish.

This was permitted under the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries (Protection) (Scotland) Act, 1951, and there appeared to be an inconsistency between the provisions in that Act and the Rivers (Prevention of Pollution) Act, 1951. I am glad that the hon. Gentleman has been able to do away with that inconsistency.

The Clause, therefore, should be helpful to those concerned with preserving, and promoting one of our valuable resources—river fisheries. Those concerned are, indeed, more anxious than perhaps any other persons in Scotland to keep our rivers clean.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause read a Second time and added to the Bill.