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Falkland Islands (Fisheries)

Volume 22: debated on Wednesday 28 April 1982

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asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will bring forward proposals for encouraging the British fishing industry to participate in the commercial development of fishing in the waters around the Falkland Islands and dependencies once the present dispute is settled.

The British fishing industry is already well aware of the Fisheries potential of the waters around the Falkland Islands and their dependencies. It is also aware of the Government's view that the decision whether to seek to become involved in the exploitation of these waters rests with the industry itself and is a matter for the commercial judgment of those concerned.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) what aid has been given to the British fishing industry for experimental fishing expeditions in the waters round the Falkland Islands and their dependencies in each of the last 10 years;(2) what technical aid or support has been made available for the development of fishing in the Falkland Islands and dependencies.

The Government financed a study of the commercial and technical aspects of the fishing possibilities in the South-West Atlantic which was carried out by the White Fish Authority in 1979.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will allocate funds for exploratory voyages for fishing vessels requisitioned for the Falkland Islands to survey the fishing resources in the area after the cessation of hostilities.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether research into the feasibility of establishing a viable fishing industry based on the Falkland Islands could be financed from appropriate European Economic Community funds.

I have been asked to reply.The Falkland Islands have been granted an allocation of 50,000 ECUs—about £28,000—from the fifth European development fund under the terms of the 1980 Council decision on the Association of the Overseas Countries and Territories with the Community. The EDF also provides 7 million ECUs—about £4 million—for risk capital operations and 9·5 million ECUs—some £5·3 million—for regional projects in member States' dependencies. Risk capital funds are administered by the European Investment Bank, which has also agreed to make available to dependencies up to 15 million ECUs—about £8·5 million—in loans from its own resources. These funds are not allocated on a country basis, but each application is considered on its merits.Although European Community funds for the Falkland Islands are limited there is in principle no reason why a proposal to finance an appropriate fisheries study should not be considered.