HC Deb 08 June 1976 vol 912 cc616-7W
Mr. Eldon Griffiths

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is his estimate of the financial costs to date of the "cod war"; and if he will publish in the Official Report the approximate costs of the following: (a) additional expenses of the Royal Navy arising from its fisheries protection budget of operations off Iceland, (b) damage, (c) repairs to Her Majesty's ships, (d) loss of trawlers' fishing gear met by public funds, (e) hiring of civilian vessels by the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, (f) compensation to trawler owners and others, and (g) other administrative overheads including those incurred by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Mr. Bishop

The known costs to date are: (a) the running costs of Royal Navy ships which operated in waters off Iceland were similar to those that would have been incurred wherever the vessels were deployed; (b) and (c) final and detailed repair costs arising from collision damage will not be available until after work has been completed; (d) none; (e) about £1.8 million; (f) about £74,000, to which must be added compensation, not expected to exceed about £30,000, when fishing was suspended during the Oslo talks; and (g) it is not possible to assess separately the administrative overheads of the cod war from those relating to other areas of administration.

Mr. James Johnson

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement about the arrangements for payment of compensation to trawlermen off Iceland during the period of the recent negotiations.

Mr. Peart

Compensation will be payable to the skippers and crews of vessels on the Icelandic fishing grounds which were requested by Her Majesty's Government to refrain from fishing during the period 21.00 hours on 30th May to 09.00 hours on 2nd June 1976. The rates of payment will be £400 per day for trawlers from Grimsby, Hull, Fleetwood, Aberdeen and Granton, except for side trawlers from Fleetwood which will qualify for £350 per day. Parts of a day will be payable on apro rata basis. Vessel owners will be asked to submit claims and apportion compensation between the various grades on their vessels in accordance with the appropriate port agreements. Administrative arrangements will be similar to those operated in the first period of the compensation scheme in January-February 1976.

I shall in due course be submitting a Supplementary Estimate for 1976–77, and in the meantime I shall have recourse to the Contingencies Fund. Authority for the payments will rely on the Estimate itself and on the confirming Appropriation Act.