asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what proposals he has for conservation of fish stocks in the waters around Scotland after 1st January 1978; and if he will make a statement.
As was made clear on Monday, during the debate on EEC draft regulations to which the hon. Member made his usual useful contribution, the Government are determined to ensure that adequate steps are taken to protect the stocks of fish in the United Kingdom waters.To mention two matters in which I know the hon. Member has a particular interest, we hope to obtain the agreement of the Council of Ministers to a continuation of the North Sea herring ban into 1978 and also to an extended closure of the Norway pout box, involving a larger box, in 1978.
May I thank the Minister for his courteous reply? I add my best wishes to the right hon. Gentleman in the negotiations next week. In the absence of an agreement with the EEC countries on 1st January, may I have an assurance that, in the interests of conservation and the future of the fishing industry of all the EEC countries, Britain will not be held back in continuing its own conservation measures into 1978?
Yes, I can readily give that assurance. It has been repeated time and time again that in the event of a breakdown of justifiable conservation measures we shall take effective national measures by conversion to protect our industry.