§ 124. Mr. M. MacMillan
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the present position in respect of the utilisation of sea wrack in the Outer Hebrides; and what overall interest, direction and supervision his Department maintains in this connection.
§ Mr. Westwood
For the past two years the Scottish Agricultural Organisation Society have organised the collection of seaweed by crofters in the Outer Hebrides and have arranged for its sale for commercial purposes. In addition I understand that a commercial company is employing crofters in South Uist and Benbecula to collect weed for their purposes. The Departments under my control are giving every assistance possible to the Scottish Seaweed Research Association, which was set up in July, 1944, to carry out research work into Scottish seaweed resources with a view to their development for use on a commercial basis. It will be some time before the Association can reach definite conclusions from its work, and in order that the question of immediate development might be examined, I appointed last December a Provisional Board to consider the possibility of setting up a seaweed factory in the Western Islands. I have just received the Board's report which recommends a more limited experiment in the first instance and this is under urgent consideration.