Winter Herring Fishing

Oral Answers to Questions — Scotland – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 8th March 1949.

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Photo of Major Sir Basil Neven-Spence Major Sir Basil Neven-Spence , Orkney and Shetland 12:00 am, 8th March 1949

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what steps are being taken by the Herring Industry Board to revive the Scottish winter herring fishing.

a number of figures, I shall, with permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Following is the information:

have encouraged fishermen to engage in the winter fishing on the West Coast by undertaking during the period 11th January to 13th March, 1949, to take over at fixed prices according to quality all herring landed at the ports of Stornoway, Ullapool, Gairloch, Kyle and Mallaig. The Board are undertaking the long term development of quick freezing and other outlets at Stornoway which should help the winter as well as the summer fisheries. The Board have also arranged contracts for the supply of herring from the Clyde to Germany during the winter season should herring surplus to home market requirements become available.

Photo of Major Sir Basil Neven-Spence Major Sir Basil Neven-Spence , Orkney and Shetland

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that his right hon. Friend the Minister of Food is busily engaged in sabotaging the efforts of the Herring Industry Board, and would he consult with him on the matter?

Photo of Mr Arthur Woodburn Mr Arthur Woodburn , Clackmannan and Eastern

I am not aware of that, but I think that the hon. Gentleman ought to put that question to the Ministry of Food.

Photo of Major Sir Basil Neven-Spence Major Sir Basil Neven-Spence , Orkney and Shetland

Is the Minister aware that the question came up last week when the Minister of Food admitted that Norwegian herrings were being imported surplus to requirements, and that, in consequence, good West Coast herrings were being reduced to fish meal and oil?

Photo of Mr Robert Boothby Mr Robert Boothby , Aberdeenshire and Kincardineshire Eastern

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that this scheme of the herring board has broken down, and can he hold out reasonable hopes that adequate quick freezing plant will be put up quickly on the West Coast as that is the only way of dealing with this situation?

Photo of Mr Arthur Woodburn Mr Arthur Woodburn , Clackmannan and Eastern

The hon. Gentleman should not be so pessimistic. Certain difficulties have arisen, but, as he knows, the Minister of Food's first job in this country is to guarantee a food supply to the people, and where the returns from our fisheries are very variable, precautions have to be taken that they do not fall below the requisite standard.

Photo of Mr Thomas Scollan Mr Thomas Scollan , Renfrewshire Western

Is the right hon. Gentleman's Department aware that there is a very serious lack of facilities on the distributive side for herrings and white fish, but particularly for herrings, and that not half the herrings are being distributed which were being distributed 50 years ago?

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

The right hon. Gentleman referred only to the action being taken on the West Coast to improve the herring trade, but may I express the hope that he is not forgetting that on the East Coast a very great winter herring fishing used to take place, and that we shall be glad to have it resumed?