HL Deb 16 March 1977 vol 381 cc130-2WA

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they and/or the European Commission have examined the United States' schedule of fees to be charged to foreign nations permitted to fish within the United States' fishery zone, viz.:—

"Permit Fee—a fixed annual fee of one dollar per gross registered ton for each vessel engaged in fishing; a fixed annual fee of 50 cents per gross registered ton for any vessel engaged in processing fish, not to exceed 2,500 dollars per vessel; and, a fixed annual fee of 200 dollars for vessels assisting other ships in harvesting or processing;

"Poundage Fee—for 1977, a fee of 3–5 per cent. of the dockside price of fish that are allocated to each foreign nation will be charged. The value of the fish will be determined by the dockside price received by US fishermen in 1975 as published in 'Fisheries of the United States'. For species not landed in the United States, appropriate foreign dockside price will be used.

"Observer Fees—foreign nations will be required to reimburse the US on an annual basis for all costs of placing observers on board the foreign vessels, including salary, per diem, transportation, and overhead";

whether Her Majesty's Government propose to follow suit; if so when, and if not why not.


In the Government's view, charges designed to recover all or part of the cost of administering a fisheries agreement with a foreign country are likely to be unnecessary where the agreement is fully reciprocal and provides for an equitable balance of advantage between the parties to it. In all other cases, foreign fishing should be reduced rapidly to a level justified by reciprocity. As all the countries with which the European Economic Community is currently negotiating fall into one or other of these categories, the Government have no plans to introduce such a system at present.

House adjourned at eight minutes past nine o'clock.