Sea Fish Industry Authority

Oral Answers to Questions — Agriculture, Fisheries and Food – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 27th July 1989.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Harry Cohen Harry Cohen , Leyton 12:00 am, 27th July 1989

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when he last met the chairman of the Sea Fish Industry Authority; and what subjects were discussed.

Photo of David Curry David Curry , Skipton and Ripon

I am looking forward to meeting the chairman of the Sea Fish Industry Authority at an early and mutually convenient time.

Photo of Harry Cohen Harry Cohen , Leyton

Given the authority's role in fish farming research, should it not be looking into pollution research? Will the Minister take steps to stop the misuse of chemicals and pesticides in fish farms and ban the use of Nuvan 500 EC?

Photo of David Curry David Curry , Skipton and Ripon

I am certainly not prepared to guarantee that I will ban a product until I have had a chance to investigate the case.

Photo of David Curry David Curry , Skipton and Ripon

The hon. Member for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner) says that I do not know what it is, and I confirm his impression. However, I will take steps to find out very quickly. If the hon. Member for Leyton (Mr. Cohen) would like to forward any particular evidence to me, I will examine it as soon as possible.

Photo of Mr Calum MacDonald Mr Calum MacDonald , Na h-Eileanan an Iar

I add my personal welcome to the Minister with his new responsibilities and I hope that he will be a wee bit more sympathetic than his predecessor was to some of our concerns. When he next meets the chairman of the Sea Fish Industry Authority, will he discuss with him, and with the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for Scotland, the need closely to monitor nephrops stocks in the Minch fisheries off the north-west coast of Scotland, where there is increasing pressure due to east coast fishermen coming over as a result of the quota cuts that they have suffered? Will the Minister undertake to monitor prawn stocks off the west coast and introduce quotas if necessary?

Photo of David Curry David Curry , Skipton and Ripon

I will certainly undertake that that should be on the agenda, and I will certainly discuss it with my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland.

Photo of Dr Norman Godman Dr Norman Godman , Greenock and Port Glasgow

I, too, welcome the new Ministers to their posts. I only hope that we can maintain the civilised relationship that we experienced with their predecessors. In that regard, I offer my compliments in public to the hon. Member for Calder Valley (Mr. Thompson) for the many affable courtesies that he showed to me during his tenure of office.

When the Minister next meets the chairman of the Sea Fish Industry Authority, will he discuss with that gentleman the urgent need to introduce a sensible decommissioning scheme? Does he agree that many middle-aged fishermen around the British coastline would happily and willingly tie up their middle-aged or elderly vessels for the last time if such a scheme were in operation? Is it not the case that, with regard to European Community obligations vis-a-vis the multi-annual guidance programme, the United Kingdom fishing fleet has to shed some 600 to 800 fishing vessels? How will that be brought about in the absence of a sensible decommissioning scheme?

Photo of David Curry David Curry , Skipton and Ripon

I echo the hon. Gentleman's remarks about my hon. Friend the Member for Calder Valley (Mr. Thompson), who I thought was an excellent Minister and responsible for many personal kindnesses to hon. Members.

Decommissioning is a somewhat less easy matter than the hon. Gentleman seems to suggest. It is one of the options that I am now reviewing. The hon. Gentleman is right that the multi-annual guidance programme sets Community targets to apply by 1991. He will be aware, however, that since that target was set two years ago there has been a significant expansion in the fishing fleet. That has been done with public money. I am therefore bound to pay careful attention to whether I wish to decommission with public money a fleet that was built up with public money. However, it is one of the matters that I shall certainly discuss with my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland and I am aware of the importance of the issue.