HC Deb 04 March 1981 vol 1000 cc359-60


Mr. Buchanan-Smith

I beg to move amendment No. 31, in page 24, line 2, leave out from beginning to 'by' in line 4 and insert 'provision of the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act 1975 mentioned in column 1 of Part I Schedule 4 to this Act by reason of any act specified in relation to that provision in column 2 of that Part which is done'.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

With this we may take Government amendment No. 37.

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

This is a complicated matter, and it may be helpful if I explain it briefly to the House.

Clause 28(1) exempts fish fanners from certain provisions of the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act 1975, which are designed to protect wild stocks of salmon, trout and freshwater fish. The provisions currently affect all fish farms. We discussed the matter in Committee, and there was general agreement that it was time to release fish farmers from unnecessary restriction. The point was raised in consultation before the Bill was introduced, and we sought to include a provision in it.

The amendments to clause 28 and schedule 4 limit the scope of the exemption as appropriate to fish produced by fish farming, and to waters used exclusively for farming. As I said in Committee, we received representations to the effect that clause 28(1), as drafted, could give rise to difficulties. I was persuaded by those representations. As those who served on the Committee know, I promised to bring forward a suitable amendment.

I received representations on two specific points—first, that the position of fishing with rod and line was not clear, and, secondly, that the unacceptable netting of wild stocks of fish from rivers for fish fanning purposes should be exempted. It was not our intention that either of those practices should be exempted. The amendments make it clear that fishing with rod and line is not exempted, and that the exemptions relating to nets and the netting of fish are restricted only to the taking of farmed fish and the use of nets in waters used exclusively for fish farming.

I hope that the amendments meet the concern that has been expressed.

Amendment agreed to.

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