HC Deb 01 November 1979 vol 972 cc1438-9
19. Mr. Peter Mills

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when next he will meet the Council of Fisheries Ministers of the European Economic Community.

Mr. Peter Walker

On 3 and 4 December 1979.

Mr. Mills

I fully support the stand that my right hon. Friend is taking on these matters which are absolutely crucial to this country. But will he bear in mind that it is important that time is taken to get it right and that, however long it takes, we must get it right? Will he tell the House what progress has been made concerning fish stocks? Can we see any progress in this matter through the measures which have been taken?

Mr. Walker

My hon. Friend is right on the first matter. It will not be a quick negotiation, because complicated national interests are at stake. I assure him that the divers sections of our industry are working closely with us on this matter and will be with us in either Brussels or Luxembourg when the negotiations take place.

As regards conservation of stocks, the action taken by the Labour Government and continued by this Government is the main contribution towards the conservation of stocks in Europe.

Mr. Robert Hughes

When the right hon. Gentleman next meets the Council of Fisheries Ministers, will he discuss the issue which has arisen in Aberdeen this week where there was severe disruption to the fish market because of the importation of Faroes fish? Is he aware that there is great concern that we are allowed to take only 5,000 tons from Faroese waters compared with their 120,000 tons from our waters and the right to land the fish? Will he look into that matter?

Mr. Walker

I assure the hon. Gentleman that I will look into that matter.

Mr. Myles

In any discussions on EEC fisheries policy, will my right hon. Friend ensure that due regard is taken of the real conservation measures that we have taken and that policy is not formulated on historic catches?

Mr. Walker

Yes, Sir.