§ 3. Mr. Onslow
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what assistance his Department has offered to the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries of the Republic of Ireland in identifying the organism causing salmon disease in certain Irish rivers; and if he will make a statement.
§ 12. Mr. Kimball
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement about the fish disease now affecting Irish rivers; and what action he will take to safeguard all freshwater fish in the United Kingdom.
§ The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Mr. James Hoy)
My Department and the Scottish Fisheries Department, with the help of the Public Health Laboratory Service and the Torry Laboratory of the Ministry of Technology, are carrying out experiments to isolate and identify the bacteria responsible for the disease.
With regard to action to prevent the disease spreading to this country, I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given by my right hon. Friend on 4th May to the hon. Member for Gainsborough (Mr. Kimball) and the hon. and gallant Member for Knutsford (Sir W. Bromley-Davenport).
§ Mr. Onslow
I thank the Joint Parliamentary Secretary for that reply. Does he agree that it is in the public interest 444 that the facts of this situation should be known as fully as possible? Will he undertake to publish as soon as he can a statement, for the information of fishermen and in the interests of the tourist trade between this country and Southern Ireland?
§ Mr. Farr
In connection with the risk of infection spreading to this country, has the hon. Gentleman circularised angling and fishing clubs, which organise expeditions to the Republic at this time of the year, bearing in mind that infected tackle could well cause the disease to spread to this country?
§ 46. Dame Joan Vickers
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will seek consultations with the Government of the Irish Republic with a view to ensuring that waders, gum boots, and fishing tackle used for the fishing of salmon in the Republic of Ireland are thoroughly cleaned in order to prevent the spreading of disease to Great Britain.
§ Dame Joan Vickers
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that his reply is very disappointing? The disease can only be carried by equipment of the kind mentioned in my Question. If it is not disinfected and the disease is brought into this country, it will ruin our salmon industry. Will the hon. Gentleman look at this again?
§ Mr. Hoy
We have not yet discovered what the disease is. When we find out, we shall be able to take action. I am certain that we have drawn the attention 445 of all anglers fishing in these rivers—as have the Irish Government—to the need to take precautions. Knowing anglers as I do, they will respond in order to see that it does not spread further into this country if it can possibly be prevented.
§ Mr. G. Campbell
While trying to find out the cause of the disease, will the hon. Gentleman nevertheless take all the elementary precautions he can to prevent the disease spreading?