HC Deb 23 May 1973 vol 857 cc441-2
5. Mr. W. H. K. Baker

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will now make a further statement following negotiations with Danish and Faroese officials in Edinburgh on Thursday 26th April.

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

The United Kingdom has agreed, along with the other main nations fishing in the Faroes area, to take part in discussions on an international catch limitation agreement. These will probably take place in the second half of June, and my right hon. Friend has invited representatives of the British trawling industry to attend as advisers.

Mr. Baker

I thank my hon. Friend for that reply. Will he reassure the House that it is the Government's intention to retain the full catching powers of the British fleet off the Faroes? In addition, will such implements as the creep cutter anti-warp cutting device be available to Scottish trawlers operating off the Faroes should it become necessary?

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

I hope that that situation will not arise. I must make it clear that both the Danes and the Faroese have attempted to approach this matter in a sensible and constructive manner. From our point of view it is only the principle of an international catch limitation scheme that is desirable. That is all we have agreed at present. In our view, the object is to prevent any substantial increase in total fishing effort off the Faroes.

Mr. McNamara

May I ask whether the Government's relationship with the Danes and Faroese has been brought to the attention of the Icelandic Government, because it would seem to afford a happy omen in the dispute?

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

I think that lessons can be drawn. We must approach these matters on a multilateral basis and get agreement on that basis. I am glad to tell the House that this matter is being approached sensibly, and I hope that lessons will be drawn elsewhere.

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