Fish Farming

Oral Answers to Questions — Scotland – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 21 October 1992.

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Photo of Mr Ian Bruce Mr Ian Bruce , South Dorset 12:00, 21 October 1992

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on his Department's role in expanding fish farming.

Photo of Mr Hector Monro Mr Hector Monro , Dumfries

rose[Interruption.]

Photo of Mr Hector Monro Mr Hector Monro , Dumfries

That sounds like a pre-run of Ibrox.

The Scottish Office provides financial assistance and a regulatory framework for the development of fish farming in Scotland. I welcome the important contribution that salmon farming in particular makes to the economy of some parts of rural Scotland.

Photo of Mr Ian Bruce Mr Ian Bruce , South Dorset

I thank my hon. Friend for that answer. Can he tell the House what effect removing minimum import prices has had on fish farming in recent times?

Photo of Mr Hector Monro Mr Hector Monro , Dumfries

Since May, when I did not review the minimum import price, because the reasons for doing that in relation to Norway no longer existed, the price has firmed very well. The price of small salmon is 50 per cent. up over the price in May and the price for large salmon is up by about 60 per cent. I hope that that trend continues towards Christmas.

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

Is the Minister aware that people in the fish farming industry are angry and disappointed at his failure to support their proposal for a producers' organisation? Given the importance of this industry for the Scottish economy and the west coast, will the Minister change his mind and look again at the proposal for a producers' organisation which the industry believes is vital to its long-term future?

Photo of Mr Hector Monro Mr Hector Monro , Dumfries

I agree with the hon. Gentleman that fish farming is most important. I was glad to visit a fish farm in the Western Isles only a few weeks ago. The Government will continue to give all the help that we can and we look forward to a steady increase in production, which has been remarkable over the past 10 years.