HC Deb 26 July 1949 vol 467 cc119-20W
90. Sir D. Robertson

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he has read the reports passed to him by the hon. Member for Streatham on the use of poison by salmon thieves in the rivers Cassley, Einig, Oykell and Corriemulzie in Sutherland and Ross-shire, which destroyed several hundred salmon in addition to those stolen; and whether he will take immediate action to restrict the sale of cyamag to agriculturists who require it for lawful purposes; and to track down and punish the evildoers who are committing these crimes for gain.

Mr. Woodburn

Yes. I have read and taken note of the correspondence referred to in the Question. Cyamag is largely used by agriculturists and others to destroy vermin. It can only be sold by retail chemists on registered premises and to persons known to the seller. A record of the sale must be kept for two years in the Poisons Register which must be open for inspection by the police. I am not satisfied that further restrictions on the sale of this particular poison would be justified. As regards the last part of the Question, I have nothing to add to the answer which I gave to the hon. Member on 21st June last.

91. Sir J. Barlow

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he has considered information of the illegal netting and killing of 33 salmon on the upper reaches of the rivers Brora and Black-water in Sutherland; and, in view of the widespread destruction of breeding stock, will he make greater use of the emergency powers which he already has so that motor vehicles used by salmon thieves may be confiscated and prison sentences imposed instead of fines.

Mr. Woodburn

I am aware of the complaints of salmon poaching on the rivers Brora and Blackwater about which the hon. Member has written to me. In certain circumstances sentence of imprisonment may be imposed under the existing law. On the evidence before me I am not satisfied that I should be justified in seeking to take further powers under the emergency legislation. A committee which I set up last year, is, however, examining the general question of protecting the salmon fisheries against large-scale destruction, and I am drawing the committee's attention to the information supplied by the hon. Member.

Lieut.-Colonel Boles

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland, if he has considered the reports which have been sent to him of large scale thefts of salmon from the Halladale River in Sutherland by men who are clearing pools of spawning fish to supply the black market; and what action he proposes to take to bring this to an end.

Mr. Woodburn

Yes. The prevention of poaching is primarily the responsibility of salmon fishery district boards and of the proprietors of the fishings. The police are, however, giving such assistance as is possible. I am forwarding the information supplied by the hon. and gallant Member to the committee which I set up last year to consider what steps could be taken to prevent large-scale poaching.