HC Deb 24 October 1979 vol 972 cc411-2
12. Mr. Sproat

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on the latest situation in the fishing industry.

Mr. Younger

Landings in Scotland so far this year are running at 20 per cent. below the corresponding level for last year. The total value of the fish taken is marginally below the value of last year while costs have risen, and I am very concerned about the difficulties currently faced by the fishing industry. The situation should improve as a result of the conservation and management measures we have taken, but the current uncertainties can be removed only by a satisfactory settlement of the common fisheries policy which we are urgently seeking.

Mr. Sproat

I thank my right hon. Friend for that reply. Will he take this opportunity to give the House a categoric assurance that at the Dublin summit there will be no trade-off of British fishing interests against any other British interests? Will he also assure us that at the fisheries meeting there will be no piecemeal settlement? What we want is a package deal as a whole, not a settlement on conservation and the rest left in limbo.

Mr. Younger

The Government's position on the Dublin summit is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister. My right hon. Friend and I will be approaching the fisheries negotiations purely in the context of the good of our own fishing industry. With regard to the general conduct of negotiations, we shall certainly bear in mind that what is required is an agreement as a whole which will be acceptable to our own fishing industry. We shall stick firmly to those lines.

Mr. Foulkes

Is the Secretary of State aware of an article which appeared in the Glasgow Herald last Friday to the effect that, because of the operation of the quota system, there is a scandalous waste, a dumping, of valuable herring? Will the Minister investigate these allegations and report to the House?

Mr. Younger

I saw that report and I, too, was very disturbed by it. I am having it investigated. I would deplore any irresponsible dumping of fish which are not caught legally. I am sure that most of those in the fishing industry would do the same.