HC Deb 28 July 1983 vol 46 cc1319-20
9. Mr. Bellingham

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he is yet in a position to publish a report on the scientific work being carried out by his Department to quantify the resources and potential of the Wash shell fisheries; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. MacGregor

The report to which my hon. Friend refers was produced as an internal document. I have, however, arranged for a summary to be prepared and am sending a copy to my hon. Friend and placing a further copy in the Library.

Mr. Bellingham

Is my hon. Friend aware of the grave problems facing shell fishermen in this country? Those problems stem, first, from the lack of attention paid by the Government and the Sea Fish Industry Authority to shellfish marketing, and, secondly, from a lack of EC price support for shell fisheries. In King 's Lynn, many vessels that should be out at least five days a week catching pink shrimps are laid up, while the London markets are flooded with cheap imports from Norway, Holland and Russia. What does my hon. Friend plan to do about marketing?

Mr. MacGregor

I recommend that my hon. Friend should look carefully at the report, because there are interesting aspects to it vis a vis the production of shellfish in the Wash. The Sea Fish Industry Authority will no doubt be considering the need for a national policy on shellfish marketing. I accept that attention must be paid to marketing and to increasing the consumption of shellfish, as well as to the availability of supplies.