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Fishing Area, Southern Ireland (Spanish Vessels)

Volume 438: debated on Wednesday 4 June 1947

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he is aware that the Spanish Government refused to accept an international limitation of fishing in the area of Southern Ireland; that at the moment a large fleet is denuding these grounds of fish; and if he will take immediate action to reopen negotiations with Spain and lessen the threat to both Cornwall and West of England fishermen.

There is no international agreement for the limitation of fishing in the area off Southern Ireland. A convention was signed in 1946, which was applicable to these waters, and which prescribed certain mesh and size limit regulations, mainly for the protection of immature fish, but the convention has still to be ratified by eight of the signatory Governments and it is not yet in force. The Spanish Government was one of the signatories which have not yet ratified. The matter is receiving further consideration.

Would it not be much easier for the Foreign Secretary to carry on negotiations with the Spanish Government if the British Government had an Ambassador in Madrid?

Will the Foreign Secretary take steps to approach the Spanish Government on the matter of this Armada and to ask them to reconsider their policy, which is completely denuding these fishing grounds?

I am not quite certain whether it is denuding, or Whether this Convention deals with the denuding of fishing grounds. Perhaps the hon. Member could help me in regard to that. This Convention deals entirely with the matters to which I have called attention.

I will forward the Foreign Secretary the relevant details so that he may give further consideration to this matter.

Is the right hon. Gentleman satisfied that Spanish vessels are not fishing within the three-mile limit of the British coasts?

I should be glad to have information. I have not been to Ireland for a long time.