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Volume 928: debated on Thursday 17 March 1977

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asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what steps he is taking to promote the sale of fresh mackerel to the public.

This is primarily a matter for the industry and the White Fish Authority, but my right hon. Friend and I are anxious to see better use made of this valuable resource.

Is the Minister aware that mackerel that has accumulated in Hull is being left out to dry in the mid-day drizzle—if it does not go rotten—to be ground into fish meal? If the mackerel industry is to go bankrupt the mackerel fishermen of Devon and Cornwall would rather that the fish were eaten by humans than used for fertiliser.

This raises the very important question of marketing mackerel. These resources are in greater supply than many others. I have visited Penzance and Newlyn and I am aware of the problems there. We have been doing our best to ensure that newer opportunities arise for marketing, no matter who catches the fish in the areas concerned. The Government have paid a grant of £12,000 towards a marketing study that cost £16,000. This matter is occupying our attention at present, and we fully recognise its importance?

Is the Minister aware that many Devon and Cornish fishermen resent the invasion of their waters by marauding Scottish fishermen?

I have no wish to be involved in any dispute between Scotland and Cornwall and Devon, except to say that Scottish fishermen are United Kingdom fishermen and they have a right to fish in British waters. As for trawlers from third countries, my right hon. Friend must be aware of the licensing provisions in the agreements with third countries to restrain the fishing activities of those countries.