§ Lord O'Hagan
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether they will re-examine the possibility of allowing herring caught accidentally to be sent to charitable institutions or hospitals.
The Minister of State, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Earl Ferrers)
In the interests of conserving herring stocks, United Kingdom and EEC legislation has prohibited fishing for herring in specified areas and has provided that where herrings are caught in these cases they shall be returned immediately to the sea. In order to ensure effective enforcement, these provisions necessarily apply whether or not the fish are caught inadvertently, although there can be exemptions for limited quantities of herring, expressed as a percentage of the total catch, to be landed where the herring is taken as a by-catch with other species in mixed fisheries. If the legal requirements are strictly observed and illegal herring catches are returned immediately to the sea, there would be no landings of such fish in the United Kingdom and the question of disposal would not arise.