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Fish (Prices)

Volume 390: debated on Wednesday 30 June 1943

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54.

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food whether he has seen the reduction of 10d. per stone in fish prices to the inshore fishermen and whether any representative of the inshore fishermen attended the price-fixing meeting; and whether he is aware that the new price is below the pre-war price and with the increased cost of gear, bait and labour, will cause distress and hardship to our inshore fishermen; and will he take some steps to keep this important industry on a sound economic basis?

The prices to which my hon. and gallant Friend refers were discussed with the Fish Industry Joint Council, but I understand that, although that Council represents the industry as a whole, it does not contain at present a special representative of inshore fishermen. The new prices, which are in general substantially above pre-war prices, apply to all producers and were fixed after full consideration had been given to all relevant factors including the cost of gear and labour. It is not practicable to fix special prices to inshore fishermen whose catch constitutes only a very small proportion of all the fish landed.

Does not my hon. Friend consider it is absolutely necessary for our inshore men to be properly represented on this body, so that we do not get these complaints, and if this industry is not vital to the country and is not going to be made an economic industry could not these men be usefully used in something else rather than be left to dwindle away in declining numbers?

I wholly agree with the hon. and gallant Gentleman, and the Fish Industry Joint Council is trying to persuade the inshore fishermen to appoint a representative to sit on the Council.