HC Deb 20 July 1970 vol 804 cc16-7
11. Mr. Russell Johnston

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress has been made in discussions with the Danish Government about the effects of Danish salmon fishing off Greenland on salmon fishing in the United Kingdom.

Mr. Anthony Royle

As a result of these discussions, both Governments were able to support proposals which were approved at the June meeting of the International Commission for the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries. The new measures, effective throughout 1971, include restrictions of the catch or tonnage of boats to the 1969 level, an eight months close season and a prohibition on certain types of nets and gear.

Mr. Russell Johnston

Is the Under-Secretary of State aware that this is hardly sufficiently satisfactory in that, although some progress has been made, I think his answer reflects a rather more optimistic situation than that which really exists, and when many people are extremely worried that if the Danes continue with their activities off Greenland there could be a threat to the very existence of Atlantic salmon?

Mr. Royle

As a fisherman myself, I sympathise with the hon. Member. This agreement does not give Britain all that we wanted and, of course, it was a compromise. Like some other countries which supported our proposal for a ban, we would have liked more rigorous restrictions. Nevertheless, it is a useful step forward that the countries engaged in the fishery have accepted the principle of limitation.

Mr. Dodds-Parker

In view of the importance of this and other fishery issues to many countries apart from Britain and Denmark, will my hon. Friend consider strengthening the policing of any fishery agreement reached?

Mr. Royle