HC Deb 19 July 1915 vol 73 cc1191-2W

asked the Secretary to the Treasury what was the aggregate sum spent up to 5th April last on the work of the Committee appointed to inquire into the International Regulations of the North Sea Fisheries; how much it is proposed to spend in the present financial year; how many men are employed in this inquiry; and whether a substantial saving in money and labour could be instituted in this War year?


I understand the question to refer to the work of the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea. The annual contribution of the British Government to the expenses of the Council is £1,250. The expenditure of the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries on North Sea investigations is difficult to distinguish from the general scientific work of the Fisheries Division of which it forms an integral and most important part. The sum voted to the Board for scientific fishery investigations, exclusive of salaries, was, in the year 1914–15, £13,041. The actual expenditure was reduced to £9,144 mainly owing to the impossibility of carrying on deep sea investigations after the outbreak of war. The sum voted in the Estimates for the year 1915–16, in respect of similar work, was £11,836. This estimate was framed, however, at a time when it was difficult to say what work it would be practicable and desirable to carry on, and was in the nature of a provisional estimate only. It is not expected that expenditure under this head will exceed a sum of £2,500 at the outside. The salaries of the Board's staff of Naturalists of the Fisheries Division (thirteen men and three women) amount approximately to £4,300 a year. Of the officers whose salaries are included in that sum, two are serving in the Army and one in the Navy, one has been engaged for the most part, since the outbreak of war, on special war services, another is mainly so engaged at present and the remainder are either engaged in carrying on scientific work which it would be undesirable to drop or are assisting in the general services of the division which has been reduced by approximately 30 per cent, by the calls of military and naval service. For information as to the scientific work of the Scottish Fishery Board and the Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction for Ireland, I must refer the hon. Member to those Departments respectively.