HC Deb 22 June 1978 vol 952 cc701-2
15. Mr. Brotherton

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement about negotiations with the Government of Iceland on the subject of fishing rights.

Mr. John Silkin

No negotiations have taken place since a joint EEC Commission/Presidency team visited Reykjavik in June last year.

Mr. Brotherton

In view of what has happened this week will the Minister assure us that we shall now negotiate bilateral agreements with Iceland and the Faroes so that the British fishing industry is able to fish in the waters it requires?

Mr. Silkin

I remember that during the passage through this House of the Fishery Limits Act the right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell) asked me "Why are you letting Mr. Gundelach negotiate for you?" I said that it was because I thought that it was only fair to let him have his head since he was negotiating for a number of countries and it seemed that if we were negotiating separately we might not get such a good deal. As I look back on a year of total futility over the Iceland negotiations I think that I would want to look at my words again to see to what extent I would like to revise them in June 1978.

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