HC Deb 26 May 1952 vol 501 cc91-2W
31. Mr. Law

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what nation took the initiative in referring to the Hague Court the Anglo-Norwegian fisheries case.

Mr. Selwyn Lloyd

The initiative was taken by the United Kingdom. Her Majesty's Government filed an application in the Hague Court instituting proceedings against Norway, on 28th September, 1949.

Captain Stanley

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, in view of the fact that the decision of the Hague Court in the Anglo-Norwegian Fisheries dispute conflicts, in the view of Her Majesty's Government, with the conditions of the North Sea Fisheries Convention, 1882, and the Anglo-Danish Convention, 1901, what action it is proposed to take either in abrogating or seeking to amend these conditions.

Mr. Selwyn Lloyd

The decision of the Hague Court on the Anglo-Norwegian Fisheries dispute related to an area of the Norwegian coast. The two Conventions to which the hon. and gallant Member refers contain provisions relating to the measurement of exclusive fishery limits off the coasts of the United Kingdom and of certain other countries, but not off the Norwegian coast. There is, therefore, no direct conflict between the Hague Court decision and the provisions of these two Conventions. There is, however, a divergence of principle since the Hague Court's decision permitted Norway to measure her exclusive fishery limits from lines joining headlands, islands and rocks while the Conventions provide for the measurement of such limits as between the signatory States from the low water mark along the coast. Her Majesty's Government have under examination the wider implications of the Hague Court decision. The question whether it would be desirable to abrogate the Conventions or to seek their amendment will only arise, so far as Her Majesty's Government are concerned, if as a result of this examination Her Majesty's Government reach the conclusion that the principles enunciated by the Hague Court for the delimitation of Norwegian exclusive fishery limits should be applied to British territorial waters.