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Fishery Training Scheme (Western Isles)

Volume 718: debated on Wednesday 3 November 1965

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33.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he is aware of the success of the Fishery Training Scheme in the Western Isles, of the demand for its revival and continuation, and of the large number of young and suitable seamen and fishermen anxious to be trained and acquire fishing vessels; and what action he intends to take to continue and extend the scheme.

I know that the scheme has achieved its primary object of establishing a fleet in the Outer Isles manned by local fishermen, and that they have been fishing successfully. I have received many representations for the continuation and extension of the scheme and I am arranging for this question to be discussed with the Highlands and Islands Development Board and other authorities concerned.

I am obliged to my right hon. Friend for his assurance. May I ask him if he is aware that this scheme originated from the Highland Panel and was primarily put into operation by the Fisheries Department and that there is no need to go into any long investigation in order to extend this scheme which has proved to be successful, while there are excellent crews and fishermen waiting now for boats, and shipbuilding yards in Scotland awaiting orders?

I am sure my hon. Friend appreciates that the Highlands Development Board is already in existence and that it will be sufficient to deal with this special problem.

Would the right hon. Gentleman tell us, of the 12 boats, which, I believe, was the number involved, how many have shown a real and substantial success? Have they all, as we all hoped they would?

Not without notice, particularly in relation to each of the 12; but, generally speaking, it has been successful.

Is the Secretary of State aware that the feeling of the hon. Member for the Western Isles (Mr. Malcolm MacMillan) that action should be taken immediately is shared by other Highland Members, and that many of the young men on the west coast of Sutherland would like to take part in this scheme? If we wait till the Board examines all the possibilities, it appears to me that that will cause unnecessary delay.

I think that if we examine all the possibilities we shall be doing the right thing. Time spent in seeing if we can revive the scheme is essential delay.