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Volume 438: debated on Monday 9 June 1947

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asked the Minister of Food the quantities of fish caught during the past forthnight; the quantity that was not used for human consumption and con- verted into fertiliser, etc.; and whether he will consider reducing the price in order that working-class housewives may be able to buy fish which is otherwise allowed to rot.

I am grateful to the hon. Member for raising this Question. In the fortnight which ended on 31st May, about 40,000 tons of fish was landed at the main ports and 94 per cent. of it was sold for human consumption. Of the remaining six per cent., only a tiny fraction was used for fertilisers. Most of this six per cent. went to manufacturers of animal feedingstuffs, and some for a purpose which is of the very greatest importance—the extraction of oil for making margarine. In order to stimulate sales and ensure that as much fish as possible reaches the housewife, I have just freed fishmongers from all licensing and purchasing controls. Fish prices are not fixed prices, but maximum prices, and there is nothing in my regulations to prevent them falling when supplies exceed demand. Where there is more fish than the retail market can take even at reduced prices, I am most anxious that the balance should not be wasted, and I am doing everything I can to encourage quick-freezing, oil extraction, and its use as animal feed.