HC Deb 24 February 1927 vol 202 cc1953-4W

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is aware of the damage to inshore fisheries and deep-sea pelagic fisheries which have been caused by oil pollution; and whether he has taken any steps to secure the remedying of this evil?


Complaints of damage caused to inshore fisheries by oil have from time to time been received, but such evidence of specific damage as has been produced has related rather to the fouling of gear than to injury to fish. Recent investigations have failed to give any clear indication of injury to fish and marine life generally resulting from this cause, but damage may possibly arise in course of time in coastal waters through oil residues accumulating on the bottom of the sea. There is no evidence to show that oil pollution has any material effect on pelagic or other fisheries in the deep sea. The Government have accepted in principle the recommendations of the International Conference held at Washington last year, and hope that effect will be given to those recommendations by an International Convention signed by all the maritime Powers. The main recommendation is that oil should not be discharged within at least 50 miles of a coast, and the shipowners of this country have already adopted this voluntarily and given the necessary instructions to the masters of their ships. Similar action has been taken in the United States.