HC Deb 21 June 1978 vol 952 cc449-50
8. Sir John Gilmour

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he is satisfied that sufficient steps are being taken to increase the production of mussels in Scottish waters.

Mr. Millan

I am aware of the difficulties affecting production from Scottish waters but I believe there is scope for development of the market and improved returns to producers. This is primarily a matter for the shellfish industry.

Sir J. Gilmour

Does the right hon. Gentleman agree that, in spite of the difficulty that my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Hillhead (Mr. Galbraith) has in finding clean beaches in Ayrshire, the majority of the waters of Scotland are exceptionally clean and suitable for shellfish cultivation? Is he satisfied that we do not need legislation to protect the rights of those who rear mussels artificially?

Mr. Millan

Yes, reasonably satisfied. I do not say that the position is completely free from doubt. However, I do not think that that is a major factor. The problem is that the prices fetched for mussels in the market are extremely low. I am not aware that I can do anything about that at present.