HC Deb 02 December 1970 vol 807 c1276
26. Mr. Wolrige-Gordon

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he is satisfied with the present situation in regard to drift-net fishing for salmon in Scotland; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

My right hon. Friend is considering what action should be taken on the expiry in February, 1971 of the current Order banning drift-net fishing for salmon off the Scottish coast.

Mr. Wolrige-Gordon

I thank my hon. Friend for that reply. Is he aware that in a reply given to me yesterday the Government indicated an increase of over 100 licences issued for England and Wales over the last five years? Does not the injustice of the present situation lie in the discrimination between Scottish boats as opposed to English boats, which rankles most of all, and ought this not to be corrected here and now while these endless considerations continue?

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

I understand the point of view of my hon. Friend, but he must remember that in England and Wales drift-netting has been the traditional method of fishing, whereas in Scotland it has been carried out by what we call fixed engines. There is a difference between the two countries, but I shall bear his point in mind.

Mr. David Steel

Are we to take it that, with the change of Government, consideration of the recommendations of the Hunter Report is to start all over again?

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

The Labour Government showed no sign of giving any consideration to this matter at all. I assure the hon. Gentleman that we hope to come to a conclusion before too long.