HC Deb 27 June 1973 vol 858 cc1503-4
1. Mr. Laurance Reed

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he is satisfied that the Icelandic trawlers fishing the Shetland herring are keeping outside the 12-mile limit.

The Under-Secretary of State for Home Affairs and Agriculture, Scottish Office (Mr. Alick Buchanan-Smith)

I have no evidence of infringement of properly constituted fishery limits by Icelandic vessels.

Mr. Reed

Has my hon. Friend had a chance to peruse the White Paper on the cod war? Does he realise that in it the Icelanders are accused of overfishing their own herring stocks? Since they will now be doing some fishing in sight of our shores, is not this a very good argument for extending our own limits to 50 miles and excluding them? Will he undertake, in any future negotiations about fishing limits, to ensure that the interests of the 8,000 inshore fishermen of Scotland are represented as forcibly as the interests of the 2,000 distant water fishermen of England?

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

I must ask my hon. Friend not to oversimplify the situation. In the herring industry there is urgent need for catch restriction of North Sea herring. I hope Iceland will withdraw her objection to this and not stand in the way of other countries finding a solution at the special meeting to be held of the North-East Atlantic Fisheries Commission at the end of this year. If Iceland paid attention to that kind of thing it would be very helpful to everyone.

Mr. W. H. K. Baker

Does not my hon. Friend agree that the inshore fishermen are wholly behind the Government's stand in the Icelandic fisheries dispute? I have flown over the area. Will my hon. Friend accept from me that there was no case of a British trawler going anywhere near the 12-mile limit?

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

In all my negotiations and discussions with the inshore fishing industry of Scotland, I find the fishermen strongly in support of the deep sea industry.

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