HC Deb 03 February 1971 vol 810 cc1668-9
29. Mr. Wolrige-Gordon

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what was the total catch of salmon and grilse recorded in Scotland each year over the last eight years.

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

As the answer contains a number of figures I will, with permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Wolrige-Gordon

Is the Under-Secretary aware that there has been much claptrap talked in the last eight years about the imminent collapse of the salmon and grilse fishing industry owing to drift netting and drift-line methods in the oceans? Do not these figures contradict those forecasts over and over again? Will he accept that they have been misconceived and will he reconsider this question of allowing drift netting under licence as is already allowed in England?

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

I do not think that the answer is quite as simple as that. Salmon stocks as measured by catches are liable to be affected by a large number of factors and the effect of each cannot be isolated and measured. This difficulty was recognised by the Hunter Committee which recommended that the banning of drift netting should be made permanent.

Following is the information:

Salmon Grilse Total
1963 267,295 166,906 434,201
1964 269,566 286,462 556,028
1965 226,708 217,501 444,209
1966 228,363 221,020 449,383
1967 261,534 342,597 604,131
1968 213,993 213,879 427,872
1969 209,965 348,781 558,746
1970 Not yet available