The discussion which I have had with the Chairman of the Board has satisfied me that the mistake which was made over the buying price at Stornoway last winter was an isolated error.
The Board had, however, initiated some time ago studies of its administrative arrangements and the Chairman has undertaken to lay before me plans which the Board is formulating. He has also written to the fishermen's representatives re-emphasising that the Board is very willing to try to meet any suggestions they might make, and suggesting regular meetings to promote mutual understanding. I do not consider that any further measures are called for.
Is my right hon. Friend aware that I am not sure that fishermen will regard it necessarily as just an isolated error? Is he further aware that after this new revelation as to how the Herring Industry Board has conducted its affairs, there is a real and, I think, enduring crisis of confidence among the fishermen on the issue of how their money is used and whether it is used well or not? How, in consultation with the Chairman of the Board, does my right hon. Friend propose to meet this real feeling among the fishermen?
The Chairman of the Board has been in office for two years. A new Board was then set up. I believe that his explanations to me of the mistake which occurred over the Stornoway price were very frank and full. The measures which he is taking to prevent such a thing happening again, and particularly his suggestion of closer co operation with the fishing industry itself, will, I hope, quickly re-create full confidence.