asked the Minister of Agriculture the assistance the respective Governments of Sweden, Denmark, Germany, and Holland afford to their fishing industries in the way of special facilities or subsidies; and is he aware that trawlers and other fishing boats of those countries are landing their catches at British ports, thereby causing great loss and unemployment to our own fishermen?
As the answer to the hon. Member's question is lengthy, I propose, with his permission, to circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.
Following is the answer:
Sweden.—During 1921 a State subsidy of Kr.100,000 was granted in aid of the Icelandic fishery, but, even with this assistance, the undertaking was not a financial success, and a deficit of some Kr.30,000 was incurred. A subsidy has been granted this year, but particulars are not yet available.
Denmark.—In December, 1921, a State guarantee of a sum not exceeding Kr.25,000 was granted with the object of running a. small steamer with a cargo of about 70 tons of fish three or four times a month from Thyberon, in Jutland, to England. The intention was that the vessel should run at ordinary rates and the guarantee only be used in the event of the experiment showing a loss on working. The guarantee was not to be used for the purpose of reducing rates. No information is available as to whether any subvention has actually been paid. By the Law No. 118 of 11th March, 1921, power to grant loans to fishermen or to fishermen's loan associations, up to a maximum of Kr.500,000, was granted, while Law No. 197 of 10th May, 1922, authorises loans in the same direction up to a maximum of Kr.400,000. This latter law also empowers the Government to grant fishermen, who permanently reside in the Slesvig district, direct loans, without security being given, for the purchase of fishing vessels which are not of a size to be registered, and loans to members of loan associations in the Slesvig district may also be granted from the means at the disposal of the association on the same terms.
Germany.—There is no direct subsidy granted by the State to the fishing industry. No information is available as to whether an indirect subsidy is given, but investigations are being made.
Holland. — There are two separate schemes whereby the Dutch Government directly subsidises its fishing industry. Scheme A applies to such communes as have agreed to certain conditions laid down by the Government, and the Ministry is informed that Scheveningen and Katwyk are the only communes that have entered into the necessary agreement. The scheme provides for compensation for losses incurred in the operation of trawlers between the 1st January and the 15th May, 1922, and the maximum amount of compensation granted per vessel is 1,750 florins. The
object of this scheme appears to be to keep the vessels at sea. Scheme B applies to the Zuyderzee fishermen, but full particulars of this scheme are not known. It is understood, however, that the Netherlands Government is prepared to grant a guarantee of 1,500,000 florins to the employers through the agency of the Zuyderzee Crediet Bank.
With regard to the second part of the question, I would refer the hon. Member to the answer which my right hon. Friend gave to the question addressed to him on the 3rd April last by the hon. and gallant Member for North-West Hull (Colonel L. Ward), to which I should like to add that a Committee consisting of representatives of all branches of the fishing industry, and of the two fishery Departments for England and Scotland respectively, is at present considering what steps can be taken, if any, to ameliorate the conditions referred to.