Fish Zoning Scheme

Oral Answers to Questions — Food Supplies – in the House of Commons on 9th December 1942.

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Photo of Sir James Henderson-Stewart Sir James Henderson-Stewart , Fife Eastern

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food whether he can now make his promised statement on the working of the Fish Zoning Scheme; what complaints have been received; what major defects have been disclosed; and what action has been, or is being, taken to deal with them?

Photo of Mr William Mabane Mr William Mabane , Huddersfield

While I should welcome an opportunity, if the House so desired, to make a statement on the Fish Zoning Scheme, I regret it would not be possible to make an exhaustive statement by way of Question and answer without unduly trespassing on the time of the House. I may, however, at the moment be permitted to say first, that the fish landed and allocated at the ports since 17th October, the date on which the Zoning Scheme came into operation, has been substantially in excess of the fish landed in the corresponding period last year; second, that over a large part of the country the scheme is working satisfactorily; third, that hourly attention is being given in my Department to every case of difficulty as it arises, and the House will understand there must be some; and, finally, that I have the authority of my Noble Friend the Minister of War Transport to say that already the saving in inland transport, which is the object of this scheme, is 6,000 train miles a week, and that this figure is likely to increase.

My Noble Friend yesterday met the Fish Industry Joint Council, and, as a result, it may be hoped that closer cooperation between the industry and the Department will lead to the smoother working of the Zoning Scheme.

Mr. Stewart:

To enable the Parliamentary Secretary to make to the House the statement he desires to make, I beg to give notice that I shall raise this matter on the Motion for the Adjournment for the Christmas Recess.

Dr. Russell Thomas:

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food whether he will make a statement in regard to fish supplies in Southampton?

Photo of Mr William Mabane Mr William Mabane , Huddersfield

A miscalculation in the allocations of fish to the Southampton sub-zone resulted in a shortage of fish in Southampton. Immediately this was discovered steps were taken to remedy the error, and at the same time a substantial additional quantity of fish was sent to Southampton, with the result that during the six weeks ended 28th November wholesale fish merchants in Southampton received approximately 90 per cent. of their entitlements under the Scheme of Fish Distribution. I have no reason to think that the quantity now being sent to Southampton is materially less than the entitlement.

Dr. Thomas:

In spite of what the hon. Gentleman has said, would he be good enough to give me a personal assurance that he will look into this matter himself, as I am sure this would give great satisfaction to the people of Southampton?

Photo of Mr William Mabane Mr William Mabane , Huddersfield

Certainly. I have already been doing that.

Photo of Sir Charles Lyle Sir Charles Lyle , Bournemouth

Can my hon. Friend say why it is that only hake allow themselves to be caught?

Photo of Mr William Mabane Mr William Mabane , Huddersfield

That Question was asked two weeks ago by the hon. Member for South Croydon (Sir H. Williams).

Mr. Arthur Duckworth:

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food whether he is aware that under the Fish Zoning Scheme retail traders at Shrewsbury are not receiving supplies proportionate to the quantities received during the datum period; and what steps are being taken to remedy the situation?

Photo of Mr William Mabane Mr William Mabane , Huddersfield

I am aware that the supplies of fish to certain retail traders in Shrewsbury since the commencement of the Distribution Scheme have not been proportionate to those they received during the datum period. Steps are being taken to adjust the position.

Photo of Mr Cyril Culverwell Mr Cyril Culverwell , Bristol West

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food whether he has considered the telegram from the Lord Mayor of Bristol complaining of the inadequate volume of fish coming to Bristol since the inception of the Zoning Scheme; and what steps is he taking to increase the supply?

Photo of Mr William Mabane Mr William Mabane , Huddersfield

My Noble Friend has considered the telegram to which my hon. Friend refers. Adjustments are in process to secure an improvement in supplies of fish to Bristol, and meanwhile temporary measures are being put in force to provide Bristol with an additional supply of fish to complete their equitable proportion of fish supplies.

Photo of Mr Cyril Culverwell Mr Cyril Culverwell , Bristol West

Is my hon. Friend aware that since the Zoning Scheme came into operation, the supply of fish in Bristol has been reduced to less than half, and will he take fairly active steps to see that Bristol has a supply?

Photo of Mr Maurice Petherick Mr Maurice Petherick , Penryn and Falmouth

In view of the many complaints received in regard to the Fish Zoning Scheme will the Minister ask his Noble Friend to reconsider the whole question with a view possibly to its improvement?

Photo of Mr William Mabane Mr William Mabane , Huddersfield

I think my hon. and gallant Friend has probably seen the statement that was made yesterday by my Noble Friend to the Fish Industry Joint Council, in which he expressed his views.

Photo of Mr Evelyn Walkden Mr Evelyn Walkden , Doncaster

When the hon. Gentleman publishes a statement giving the complaints, will he also publish a statement of the satisfaction expressed by industrial areas which have received more fish and not less?

Photo of Mr William Mabane Mr William Mabane , Huddersfield

I am glad to say that the Department received a great many expressions of satisfaction.

Photo of Sir Joseph Lamb Sir Joseph Lamb , Stone

Is my hon. Friend aware that in some industrial areas in the Midlands there are no fish?