§ Mr. GEORGE ROBERTS
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, in view of the complaints that Lowestoft fishermen, who are paid by share, are defrauded of considerable sums of money, he can issue any regulations to safeguard the men; whether the owners could be compelled to file the accounts for each voyage with the collector of Customs; whether he can issue printed notices to the men in forming them of their right to a statement of accounts; and whether, if nothing can be done in the matter by way of administration, he will consider an amendment to the law which will prevent the fishermen being defrauded?
The rights of fishermen paid by share are safeguarded by the provisions of Section 388 of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1894. The Board of Trade have no power to compel owners to file the accounts of each voyage with the Collector of Customs, but, under the Section referred to, every fisherman paid by share is entitled to demand a copy of the settling account which is required to show in detail the amounts for which the catch has been sold and the amount of deductions; and he is entitled, in the event of a dispute, to inspect the owner's books and accounts. These provisions appear to give fishermen sufficient means to protect their interests in this matter.