§ [SECOND READING]
§ Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.
My Lords, this is a Bill to enable the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries to appoint officers for the purpose of branding for export herrings that have been packed in barrels. The conditions under which they would be branded are given in Clause 1 (1) and (3), and the details will be given in the Regulations which we shall make under the powers proposed to be conferred by the Bill. This is a system that is now general in Scotland and has been in force there for many years, and it is because of the good results that have been obtained in Scotland that there is now a growing demand in this country 742 among fish curers for a similar system here. What happens is that after these herrings are packed in a way which satisfies our inspector they are branded, and this brand is a kind of hall-mark which has been found very valuable among foreign purchasers. It is a guarantee of quality, of good packing, of weight, and so on. The demand for this system in this country, however, is not by any means unanimous. A number of the big curers do not want it. Their own trade mark is so well known abroad that it is quite sufficient for them, and they do not think it worth while to pay the small charge which we shall impose for this work in order to make the system pay for itself. Therefore the Bill is entirely optional. It will apply only in those cases where there is a demand for it, and it will be the business of the Board to ascertain as to whether or not the demand exists; and even when it is applied in any particular seaport it will be entirely optional on the curers in that seaport whether they take advantage of it or not. This Bill has been framed in response to repeated applications we have received, and I hope your Lordships will see no difficulty in giving it a Second Reading.
§ Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a.—(Lord Lucas.)
§ On Question, Bill read 2a, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House on Wednesday next.