HC Deb 06 May 1968 vol 764 cc32-3W
Sir C. Osborne

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) if, in view of the fact that 20 per cent. of the United Kingdom fish supply was imported in 1967 and even more is being imported in 1968, he will take steps to limit these foreign imports of fish;

(2) in view of the fact that the British Trawler Federation has sent six deputations to see him over the last two years, when he proposes to give his answer to their request for helpful measures for the industry's survival.

(3) if he is aware that the trawler fleet of 120 vessels has been reduced to 70 in the last two years, that vessels are being laid up at the rate of three a week, that owners cannot afford to replace or repair their ships, because of the low price of fish caused through foreign dumping; and if he will consult with the industry immediately on further ways to assist it;

(4) if he is aware that 10 Grimsby trawlers have been scrapped so far this year, with consequent unemployment for fishermen; and what action he proposes to take to assist the Grimsby fishing industry.

(5) in view of the fact that Norway, Iceland and Denmark protect their industry within the 12-mile limits, and are subsidising them, to dump their surplus catch on the British market, if he will enter into negotiations with these Governments to secure fair treatment for the British fishing industry.

(6) in view of the fact that the Norwegian fishing industry receives a government subsidy of £9,000,000 a year, which is enabling it to dump its surplus catch at Hull and Grimsby to the detriment of the British trawlers and fishermen, what action he proposes to take on the home industry's request for a £3,000,000 subsidy.

Mr. Hoy

My right hon. Friend realises the industry's present difficulties and already has their views on possible measures of assistance, though not on the precise level of subsidy. The considerations and possibilities mentioned by the hon. Member have been taken into account in the Review of Policy on which a statement has been promised as soon as possible.