THE EARL OF CAMPERDOWN,
in moving the second reading of this Bill, said, that after the discussion that had taken place it would only be necessary for him to detain their Lordships a few minutes in explaining the Bill. Like the Bill of the Lord Privy Seal, this Bill had reference to the reconstitution of the Fishery Board, the constitution of district committees, and it also contained provisions as to the manner in which bye-laws were to be made and costs defrayed under the Act. In the first place, the Board was to consist of three members appointed by the Crown and certain other members to be nominated. In a later clause, it proposed that each District Committee shall send one member to the Board. Clause 5 was important, providing as it did that the charges and expenses to lie incurred by the Fishery Board—which was by the Bill made the sole disbursing and accounting body under the Act—should be defrayed by money provided by Parliament. In making that provision, he had specially in his mind the expenses that would fall on the board with reference to Clause 26, which provided that they might provide, by officers, vessels, and otherwise, for the more efficient watching of the sea near the coast of Scotland. There was no such provision in the Bill of his noble Friend. In Clause 6 they came to the question of fishery districts, and he proposed that these districts should be in such numbers as appeared advisable, and composed of such parishes as might be named in each order. If he were proposing any local rate the question of 262 stating which parishes should be comprised within a district, and which should not, would be important. But as the Bill contained no proposal for local rating the question became a secondary one, and one which affected only those parishes really interested in fishing. Then it was proposed that the election should take place on the same day and in the same way as the elections of parish councils, and that the expenditure incurred should be defrayed as if incurred in the election of parish councils. The Fishery Board were to be the only persons to remunerate officers and to provide money for the purchase of mussel beds and other expenses under the Act. There was another rather important provision in his Bill—that all bye-laws were to be made, in the first instance, by the Fishery Board, subject to confirmation by the Secretary for Scotland. Clause 17 dealt with the question of titles. The Lord Privy Seal had given great prominence to the dislike which this House had to the clause in the Bill of last year which said that all titles were to be exhibited. But according to his recollection that was not the, sole or even the main reason.
THE EARL OF CAMPERDOWN
This excellent reason—it introduced a principle of law which, as far as he knew, had never been heard of before. The noble Lord's extraordinary proposal was that everyone should exhibit his title within two years, and if he did not exhibit it within that time the mussel bed in question was to belong to the Crown, and, if, further, any public authority— such as the Commissioners of Woods and Forests— felt any doubt with regard to the validity of a title, the person claiming it was to be obliged to bring an action to show the property belonged to him. He was not surprised at anyone objecting to such an unjust proposal. At the same time no one would wish to protect a man in the possession of properly to which he had no title. The matter was dealt with in Clause, 17 of the Bill which, while it provided for the same object was free from the objection which the clause of the noble, Lord's Bill of last year appeared to have. Then this Bill expressly excluded salmon. There was nothing in the noble Lord's Bill which did so.
THE EARL OF CAMPERDOWN
Well, it would be a matter for Committee. If their Lordships read the Bill a second time, he suggested that it should be referred to the same Select Committee as the other Bill.
§ LORD TWEEDMOUTH
thought it would confuse the issues before the Select Committee if this Bill were referred to it as well as the other. In many respects the Bill very much resembled his own, and included provisions which, if not identical, were similar to them. As far as these went, it was not worth while having the two Bills before them. With regard to others he could not possibly adopt them or be responsible for a Bill in which they were inserted, and he did not think it worth while to bring them before the Committee. He could not consent to the expenditure of the Local Committees being thrown upon imperial funds, and, after all, that was what was done by this Bill. Then he took exception to the method adopted for the formation of the District Committees, and the severance of the fishery interests of the county from all other county interests, The industries of a county, whether agricultural, fishing or manufacturing, affected all dwellers in the county. To say that fishery interests were to be dealt with only by people representing the fishery interests, was to take a very separatist view of the conditions existing in any county.
§ LORD TWEEDMOUTH
said, whether there was rating or not, the question of the fisheries was of great importance to Scotland, and in the several counties the fisheries ought to be matters of interest and concern to all dwellers in the county. In the great county of Aberdeen the annual value of the fish landed was greater than the whole land rental of the county. Surely the fishery industry was of sufficient importance to be dealt with by the county as a whole, rather than by the representatives of the interest dwelling in particular parishes scattered here and there in the county. It was for their Lordships to say whether the two Bills should be sent to the same Select Committee, but he would greatly deprecate that course, and he would ask the noble Earl to postpone the second reading until 264 after the Select Committee had reported their first Bill, then the noble Earl would be able to propose such Amendments as he thought fit.
THE EARL OF GALLOWAY
said he heard with regret the remarks of the Lord Privy Seal. It seemed to him to be the more natural consequence that this Bill should be referred to the same Select Committee as the first. He had had a correspondence with those represented in an important part of Scotland, and he could not see that there were any grounds for objecting to the course proposed. The noble Lord admitted that he approved of part of the Bill, and it would only be fair play to refer it to the same Select Committee.
THE MARQUESS OF LOTHIAN
acknowledged the conciliatory tone adopted by the Lord Privy Seal. Of course this Bill differed essentially from the first; but at the same time he would suggest that the noble Lord should not persist in his objection to the proposal of the noble Earl. What the noble Lord had stated need not operate in a very hostile manner to the course proposed. For himself, he should not think it right to support any proposal that local expenditure should be borne out of public funds. But that was only one point, and as to the other point, the noble Lord had somewhat magnified its difficulty, because the whole question was to rest with the Secretary for Scotland, who would include any parishes that ought fairly to bear any part of the burden, and would probably include the whole of Scotland. These were matters for discussion by the Select Committee.
§ LORD TWEEDMOUTH
said, he would suggest that the Bill should be read a second time, but its reference to the Select Committee should be postponed till it was seen how the Committee got on with the first Bill; the two Bills could not be considered together.
§ Bill read 2a. [No. 30.]
§ THE EARL OF CAMPERDOWN moved, that the Bill be referred to a Select Committee.
§ Motion, agreed to.