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Fisheries (Faroese Agreement)

Volume 718: debated on Wednesday 3 November 1965

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asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on the limits and effects of the agreement made on 1st October, 1965, between the British and Faroese fishing industries resulting from the unilateral extension by the Faroese Government of fishing limits around the Faroe Islands to 12 miles from base lines on 11th March, 1964, and recent relevant British legislation; and if he will indicate the consequences of this new agreement on the British fishing industry and British fish consumers.

This agreement allows an increase in fish imports from the Faroes from £850,000 to £1 million a year. There should be no significant effect on total supplies since imports from the Faroes have not in any year supplied as much as 2 per cent. of the market.

Does the Minister realise that, owing to the events set out in my Question, the fishing industry faces "an uncertain and challenging future," to quote the words of that authoritative journal the Aberdeen Press and Journal? Does he also realise that the fishing industry is as important to the people of this country as the farming industry and deserves to be just as generously treated?

Of course, I appreciate that the fishing industry must be recognised as much as the farming industry. But the agreement has been made by the catching side of the industry. The industry has made this agreement, and I should have thought that my hon. and learned Friend would approve it.