HC Deb 06 May 1976 vol 910 cc1449-50
4. Mr. Adley

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will take steps to protect and assist the Mudeford fishermen in accordance with the letter sent to him recently by the hon Member for Christchurch and Lymington.

Mr. Bishop

The hon. Member's letter raised a number of points ranging from dredging to the activities of East European factory trawlers. I have considered them in detail and I replied to the hon. Member yesterday.

Mr. Adley

I thank the Minister for his letter, which I have just received. Does he not think it most unsatisfactory that the botom-sweep post-dredging in Christchurch Bay is to be done under the jurisdiction of Bournemouth Corporation, which will be both judge and jury? Will the Minister arrange to have an independent survey so that my constituents feel that they are getting a fair deal?

Mr. Bishop

The hon. Gentleman will be aware of the surveys undertaken by Bournemouth Corporation in September last and in the summer of 1975. I shall certainly look into his suggestion, but I cannot make any promises at this stage.

Mr. Henderson

Does the Minister accept that an extension of fishing limits would assist not only the fishermen in the area of Christchurch but every other fisherman in these islands? Does he further accept that the fishermen are saddened and angry at the appalling surrender of the Government and the EEC in renegotiating the common fisheries policy, and by the statement made by the Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs that we have surrendered our claim for a limit of 100 miles and will be lucky to get 50 miles?

Mr. Bishop

I hope that the hon. Gentleman will not represent my right hon. Friend as saying that we have surrendered our claim for a limit of 100 miles. My right hon. Friend and I, and others, have said that we do not think that the 100-mile limit is obtainable or realistic. We are negotiating substantially to improve the situation that will otherwise obtain in 1982. My right hon. Friend and I believe that the two major elements of the negotiations are a satisfactory coastal régime and a workable quota system. We are negotiating realistically. We are not prepared to put forward unrealistic demands in Brussels. We are prepared to put forward demands that we feel are realistic in relation to the needs of a viable fishing industry.

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