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North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Agency

Volume 19: debated on Sunday 4 April 1982

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asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Agency will move to Edinburgh; and if he will make a statement.

I hope that the convention for the conservation of salmon in the North Atlantic ocean can come into force during the course of the year, but this must depend on the speed at which the prospective parties to the convention ratify it. I am very pleased that the new organisation will have its headquarters in Edinburgh

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the House will wish to congratulate the Minister on bringing the agency to Edinburgh? When does the Minister hope that the other participants will sign the convention? Does he hold out any long-term hopes for improved salmon stocks in the United Kingdom?

Edinburgh is an appropriate headquarters for the organisation. I am glad that we had the support of other countries in the negotiations. The convention was opened for signature only on 2 March. It might take a little time before the signatures are completed. I hope that the process will proceed as expeditiously as possible.

Has my right hon. Friend considered the implications of the vote in Greenland to leave the Common Market and the consequences of that for the conservation of North Atlantic salmon? May we have an assurance that in negotiations with Greenland over its leaving the Common Market it will be made clear that if Greenland wishes to seek an advantageous relationship with the Common Market it will have to give categoric assurances that its fishermen will not act as high sea pirates of salmon that rightly belong to countries such as Britain?

As my hon. Friend knows, Denmark has acted on behalf of Greenland in the negotiations. I understand that it continues to do that in relation to external affairs. I share my hon. Friend's concern. If we are to preserve and husband the important salmon resource, it is vital that we have better controls over high sea salmon fishing.