HC Deb 13 January 1971 vol 809 cc56-7
28. Sir J. Gilmour

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what increase has taken place in the last three years in the amount of fish landed by the Scottish Inshore Fishing Fleet; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

As the reply contains a number of figures, I will, with permission, circulate them in the OFFICIAL REPORT. There has over the period been a 23 per cent. increase in landings by weight and 26 per cent. by value.

Sir J. Gilmour

In view of the fact that we are now reaping the benefit of the extension of fishery limits which took place during the last Conservative Administration, would my hon. Friend ask his right hon. Friend to publish the figures of landings in the countries of the European Economic Community during the same period, so that we can judge whether their catches, in their territorial waters, are going up or down?

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

Questions of statistics in the countries of Europe are for those countries, but in relation to the Common Market we have entirely reserved our position on fisheries and have made representations to the Common Market about its own policy.

Mr. Maclennan

In view of these satisfactory figures which the Minister has reported, would he not agree that they show how right were the previous Government in increasing the grants available for the acquisition of new fishing vessels, and how wrong was the decision of the present Government, taken apparently for doctrinaire reasons, to align fishing with manufacturing industry in cutting those grants by 10 per cent.?

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

There is another Question on this point on the Order Paper. In 1966, in dealing with the question of investment grants, the hon. Gentleman's Government also dealt with fishing questions at the same time. What we did was a similar thing in the other direction.

Following is the information:

The landings in Scotland by the Scottish inshore fleet were:

in 1968—5,070,090 cwts., valued at £14,923,910;

in 1969—5,913,949 cwts., valued at £16,688,784;

in 1970—figures for December are not yet available, but including an estimated figure for this month, the landings for the whole year would be 6,236,784 cwts., valued at £18,760,902.