HL Deb 13 May 1970 vol 310 cc547-8

2.40 p.m.


My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

[The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether any progress has been made at the international conference which is now considering the preservation of herring stocks in the North Sea.]


My Lords, at its annual meeting, which ended on May 11, the North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission decided to recommend to member Governments that during 1971 fishing for herring in the North Sea and Skagerrak should be prohibited during May and from August 20 to September 30 inclusive. The recommendation provides for the exemption from the prohibition of herring unavoidably taken as a by-catch in some other fishery and also of limited quantities of herring for human consumption when this is necessary to avoid special difficulties. This recommendation will be reviewed by the Commission next year in the light of progress towards the introduction of a catch quota system which many countries would prefer. While the recommendation does not go as far in cutting back fishing effort as the scientific advice suggests is necessary, it is clearly a step in the right direction and Her Majesty's Government believe that in the circumstances the Commission did well to reach this measure of agreement.


My Lords, may I just say to the noble Lord that his statement will have been received with great satisfaction?


My Lords, may I ask the noble Lord whether legislation will be necessary in each country before the recommendations are brought into effect?


My Lords, some form of legislation will be necessary. In this country it will be in the form of an Order, which will be introduced after the 90-day period during which countries can lodge objections.


My Lords, since the Danes are the villains in both cases, could the noble Lord do something now to save our salmon?


My Lords, I am afraid the noble Lord's choice of language does not commend itself to me.