Committee on Finance. - Vote 46—Fisheries (Resumed).

As I was saying when the House rose last night, we are continuing to seek every possibility of establishing an international rule of law which will recognise extended fishery limits.

Notice taken that 20 Members were not present; House counted and 20 Members being present,

Laboratory facilities at present available for the technical staff of the Fisheries Division are not adequate for research development in the scientific investigation of our fisheries. This situation will be remedied when the new fisheries research station is built at Galway. Tenders for the construction of this building should be invited before the end of the year and provision for the initial expenditure is included in the Vote for Public Works and Buildings.

Since the Cú Feasa commenced operations a considerable amount of data has been collected in relation to herring, whiting, prawns and other varieties. Much of this work is of a long-term nature and further investigations will be necessary before firm conclusions can be drawn. Scientific and technological research of this kind is important for the conservation and rational exploitation of stocks of fish, the location of new fishing grounds, the improvement of methods of fishing and the trial of new types of gear. The Cú Feasa has searched for herring off the south-east and west coasts and has been of considerable assistance to fishermen in locating shoals. Sounding surveys and experimental trawling have also been carried out off the west coast. The vessel is at present operating off the Donegal coast. In view of the importance of locating fishing grounds, it is proposed to provide a second exploratory boat.

On the inland fisheries side, there is a good deal of useful work in progress which is directed towards increasing and safeguarding the productivity of our inland waters and securing that they yield the optimum return. Some of this work has already paid dividends but in other cases one must be content to await results over a long period of years.

The amounts provided specifically for inland fisheries total £127,510 and show an increase of £38,750 on last year's figure of £88,760. The main increases are in regard to the Inland Fisheries Trust and the Salmon Conservancy Fund to which I shall refer in detail.

There is, unfortunately, as yet no sign of the salmon fisheries lifting out of the trough of low yields through which this industry has been passing in recent years. The total catch in the 1961 season at just over 12,000 cwts.— slightly below the 1960 total—was the lowest figure since 1945. The runs of all age groups of salmon—spring fish, summer fish and grilse—were well below average and it is considered that the low temperatures obtaining throughout the year may have been a contributing factor. High water conditions in a number of rivers towards the end of the summer led to a reasonably good spawning season.

The continuance of these lean years for our salmon stocks is a source of great concern. Improvement schemes which have been initiated must take some years to have effect and in the meantime I am considering what other measures might be taken to help conserve the stocks and speed their rehabilitation. In particular I am giving active consideration to what measures might be taken to rationalise the administration of boards of conservators with a view to providing a more uniform and effective system of protection in regard to our salmon fisheries.

The relatively substantial increase from £16,000 to £25,000 in the provision for contributions to the Salmon Conservancy Fund is due to the necessity for increased subventions to boards of conservators to enable them to discharge their statutory functions. Protection costs have risen substantially in recent years and have outpaced boards' incomes from rates and licence duties. The poor salmon fishing season in 1961 once again resulted in a short fall of receipts into the Conservancy Fund from the levy of 1d. or 2d. a 1b. on exports of salmon. The total amount paid into the Fund from the levy and from portions of licence duties surrendered by boards of conservators was less than £10,000, which is considerably below the yield that might be expected in a normal year.

There are two major salmon projects for which funds are being provided out of the Salmon Conservancy Fund with the aid of contributions from the Vote. I am glad to say that good progress has been made on construction of the hatchery and rearing station at Cong. Hatchery buildings have been completed and work on the dam, fish fence, holding ponds and so on is, now under way. It is hoped that the hatchery will be ready to go into production this coming autumn.

The construction of fish passes at Ennistymon suffered a setback with the withdrawal of the contractor whose tender for the work had been accepted. The Limerick Board of Conservators has, however, arranged to have the work done by direct labour and, given suitable conditions, this project also should be completed within the year.

The grant-in-aid to the Salmon Research Trust amounts to one-third of the Trust's running expenses subject to a maximum of £1,000, the balance being contributed by Arthur Guinness, Son and Co. (Dublin) Ltd. The Trust was established to study problems connected with the development and management of salmon fisheries and the progress of its work is described in the annual reports and in a brochure recently issued outlining its aims and purposes.

A start was made last August on investigations into the effects of effluent from bog workings on fish life and fish food. The work is being organised by a peat silt research group associated with the Trust and the cost is being borne jointly by Bord na Móna, Arthur Guinness, Son and Co. (Dublin) Ltd. and the Fisheries Vote.

The first five-year angling development plan carried out jointly by the Inland Fisheries Trust and Bord Fáilte Éireann came to an end a few months ago. A lot of useful work has been done as is evidenced by the fact that some 52,000 angling visitors came here in 1961 as against the 1960 figure of 39,000 which was itself a record number. Spending by angling visitors in 1961 exceeded £1,200,000. As much work still remains to be done, however, a further five-year programme of development has been decided on and plans are at present being drawn up. The State funds for the development work to be carried out by the Trust are being provided entirely through the Fisheries Vote instead of partly from that Vote and partly by Bord Fáilte as heretofore. To ensure that development and promotion work will be properly co-ordinated, I have set up a small liaison committee comprising representatives of the Trust, Bord Fáilte and the Fisheries Division. I might also mention that I have appointed a some what similar informal committee, including a representative of the Electricity Supply Board, to advise me in regard to the co-ordinated development of fisheries and fishing rights vested in the Board. Deputies will recall that these fisheries were placed under the general supervision of the Minister for Lands by the Electricity Supply (Amendment) Act, 1961.

The substantial increase in the grant-in-aid to the Inland Fisheries Trust arises out of the new arrangement, to which I have already referred, whereby the Trust's income from the State will in future be derived entirely from the Fisheries Vote instead of partly from funds provided by Bord Fáilte as heretofore. The provision of £63,000 represents an increase of more than £5,000 on the amounts obtained by the Trust last year from both the Fisheries. Vote and Bord Fáilte. The work of the Trust is well known throughout the country and its efforts to develop our fishing facilities, for game fish, coarse fish and sea angling, are widely known and, I think, widely appreciated. I regard this work as being of a continuous nature, particularly the development of our brown trout and coarse fish resources and indeed the management of these resources when developed.

I find it difficult to understand why more anglers do not show their appreciation of the Trust's efforts by becoming members. That is one tangible way of signifying their approval and lending the Trust encouragement to persevere in the valuable work it is doing. I need hardly say that the continued goodwill and co-operation of all angling associations, development groups and hotel and guest house proprietors will be more than ever necessary if the best value is to be obtained from the funds now being provided. I take this opportunity of appealing to those interests to contribute as generously as possible, financially and otherwise, to enable the maximum benefit to be derived from the new angling development plan being prepared.

During the past two years four demonstration fish farm units have been set up at Aherlow, at Blackwater, near Enniscorthy, at Raford, near Athenry, and at Ballymote. All the units have been operating successfully and a reasonable profit was secured by the farmers at Aherlow and Blackwater who had a full season's operation from the time of stocking in the summer of 1960 until last autumn when all the stock were cleared. A detailed report on these two units has been prepared and will be issued shortly. The units at Raford and Ballymote were constructed last year and have come into production. A ten-pond unit, that is, double the usual demonstration size, is under construction at present near Mullingar on the adjoining holdings of two farmers.

Notice taken that 20 Members were not present; House counted and 20 Members being present,

Two private five-pond units are at present being constructed, one at Teelin, Donegal, and the second near Thomastown, Kilkenny. Commercial scale fish farming is being carried on at Woodenbridge, Wicklow, by Irish Trout Industries Ltd. and at Waterville, Kerry, by Rainbow Ltd., a company set up during the past year. When operating to their present planned capacity these farms together with the small units will have a total yearly output of over 400 tons of rainbow trout.

Proposals for the setting up of commercial scale fish farms for the production of rainbow trout in sea water are at present under examination. Two technical officers of Fisheries Division visited Norway to study the methods employed and results obtained at the installations where the technique of such production has been developed. It is as yet too early to say more than that a close study of the economics of producing rainbow trout by this process under Irish conditions is proceeding.

In general the steps being taken for increased production of rainbow trout serve as encouraging indications of the possibilities for an export industry subsidiary to the sea fishing industry. Fish farms provide an outlet for offal and for round fish surplus to freshing and processing requirements and are, therefore, capable of filling a useful role in relation to the expansion of the sea fishing industry.

I should like to give some information about the scientific and technical investigations into our inland fisheries. The biologists and engineers engaged on this work are very fully committed on a number of major investigations including surveys of salmon and eel stocks, predation by fish and birds, and the effects of arterial drainage and of hydro-electric schemes on stocks of migratory fish.

A full season's work has been devoted to investigating the effects on fish life, fish food and spawning grounds of arterial drainage carried out to date on a tributary of the Moy System, but at least another season's work on another part of the system will be required before conclusions can be drawn from these studies.

The sharp decline in the salmon stocks of the River Lee has called for an intensive investigation in which officers of the Fisheries Division, the Electricity Supply Board, the Inland Fisheries Trust and the Cork Board of Conservators have joined forces. The first phase of the investigation— a population survey of stocks in the upper waters—was carried out during the early part of this year when certain of the upper tributaries were fished electrically and almost 10,000 salmon smolts were fin-clipped and released. A trapping device has been installed below the hydro-electric dams to check the escapement of smolts, including those marked. Another phase in the programme is a study of how smolts are affected by conditions in the reservoirs including the extent of predation by pike.

In this year's programme in relation to eel fishing, the emphasis will be on the demonstration of improved methods of capture. Some progress has already been made with the experimental use of small fyke nets of Danish design for the catching of yellow eels in estuarine waters. Preliminary tests were carried out last year of the use of Dutch fyke nets for the capture of silver eels in fresh water and these tests will be continued in the coming season.

I shall have occasion to come before the House again shortly with a fairly extensive Fisheries (Amendment) Bill of which the last few provisions are now being finally drafted. The Bill will cover a variety of miscellaneous matters and will include heavier penalties for poisoning of rivers and for other practices connected with the illegal capture of salmon and trout. In addition there will be practical reforms dealing with the system of election to Boards of Conservators.

Two recent events—the publication of the Programme of Sea Fisheries Development and the announcement of a new five-year angling development plan—clearly show that the development of our fisheries, both sea and inland, is a major aim of Government policy. I feel that all sides of the House will agree with that policy and that Deputies may be in a position to offer helpful suggestions for its implementation. I fully appreciate that a lot remains to be done—particularly on the sea fisheries side. I may, therefore, say, in recommending this Estimate to the House, that I shall be more than glad to listen to constructive suggestions.

I move: "That the Estimate be referred back for reconsideration."

I do this in the knowledge that in our fishery districts we appear to have at present the greatest flow of emigration. Statistics reveal that there are fewer employed in the fishing industry today than in previous years. Naturally, when we have such a situation in an important industry like fishing the inclination is for fewer people to remain in the industry. There appears to be a complete exodus from the fishery districts in search of employment in other spheres. The Parliamentary Secretary and, indeed, the Minister for Lands, must be considerably alarmed at the extent of emigration among our fishermen and their families in practically every fishery district around our coast.

The fact that the statistics reveal this decline in the number engaged in the industry must convey to us that no encouragement is given to our young people to remain in the industry. The Parliamentary Secretary clearly admits in his introductory speech that the Department is concerned about the lack of young people coming forward to train as skippers and to train in modern fishery techniques. When that happens there must be something wrong. Most of the fathers of these young people have emigrated because they had not a decent standard of living. There was not a market for their catches and I attribute the decline in catches to the fact that there are fewer men fishing because most of them have emigrated.

From the pronouncements made by the Minister for Lands and his energetic Parliamentary Secretary I expected that we were about to enter into a stage which would see revolutionary changes in the fishing industry. I am sure many Deputies share my views that the Fisheries Section should be regarded as being as important as any other State Department. We are greatly blessed by being completely surrounded by water and we probably have some of the world's greatest fisheries off our coast. It is true that we are not, on the whole, a fish-eating population but, nevertheless, because of our geographical situation and the wonderful harvest of fish off our coast I feel something more practical should, and could be done in the Department. There is little use in any Government Department trying to operate a patch-work programme and we should not have a Fishery Section in name unless we have a Department with personnel and money available to spend on the development of this very important industry.

I view with great alarm the very rapid decline in the industry and the situation that now presents itself of declining catches. I had expected that the Parliamentary Secretary would explain Government policy this morning in relation to the entire fishing industry but I have heard nothing new or revolutionary. I have heard nothing that would make it any more attractive in the future for the young people to avail of the training scheme. There was nothing that would encourage the fishermen, who have left the fishery districts and gone elsewhere, having given up fishing as a bad job, to make a speedy return to the industry in which they—and their forefathers for generations—had engaged.

It is no harm to remind the House of the difference between the policy of the Government and Fine Gael policy in relation to fisheries. Fine Gael policy is, first, to develop the fishing industry based on boat-owning fishermen and, secondly, to make available all necessary credit facilities for boats and gear. Unless we have those credit facilities, we shall not keep those who are still in the industry or even those who are anxious to remain in the industry because they will not be able to equip themselves with boats and gear. It is Fine Gael policy that substantial State grants be made available to fishermen for the purchase of these boats. I am not at all satisfied that the scheme of grants which the Parliamentary Secretary has announced is as generous as the fishermen of Britain enjoy.

I do not think so. Because of the high cost of a boat —and boats are extremely costly particularly these boats with modern equipment—our State grants should be more generous in order to attract more people into the fishing industry so as to bring about an increase in our landings. Fine Gael policy is to continue research in marketing and processing, in consultation with the fishermen. I am not satisfied that the Fisheries Branch are continuing to explore every possibility for the marketing and processing of our fish. Every move they make in that regard should be in consultation with the fishermen because unless the fishermen are consulted and encouraged to increase their landings, there will not be the fish to market.

The most important point in our policy is to review the work and the policy of An Bord Iascaigh Mhara. In regard to the points I have already raised, I do not think the Fisheries Branch and the Government in general have been alert to the seriousness of the situation and the dying condition of the fishing industry at the moment. There is a very sharp decline in landings. Our catching power is entirely insufficient and in the light of the harvest of fish which is around our coast, the numbers engaged in the fishing industry can be trebled twice over with equipment, with co-operation and assistance.

Our exports of fish have dropped considerably and our imports must have risen. It is extraordinary to see in many of our shops throughout the country tins of imported salmon for sale. It is not too long since I was informed by a leading store merchant in the United States that when he was over here, he visited Killybegs and was greatly attracted to the packets of frozen fish he saw there. He made inquiries before he left Dublin and arranged for a consignment to be sent to the United States. They were put into his store window in Jackson Heights in New York and they were not 15 minutes there when his store was invaded and the stocks were gone. When that is the position, I fail to understand why we cannot put on the market ample supplies of this attractive frozen fish which has gained a very good reputation.

We have not heard anything from the Parliamentary Secretary as to what practical steps he proposes to take in the coming year or in future years to popularise fish in our own country. There is a ready export market available for the attractive packets of frozen fish but whatever amount of valuable work An Bord Iascaigh Mhara have done to popularise fish eating at home, there is much more that can be done in that regard. Too often there are gluts of fish and too often there are scarcities of fish. If the housewife is to have fish frequently on her menu, it will not do for her to be able to get all the fish she wants one week and none the next week. There must be a constant and continuous supply of fresh fish.

On one occasion, Bord Iascaigh Mhara were contemplating having various depots set up throughout the country from which continuous supplies of fresh fish would always be available for consumption on the home market. This must have fallen through because of the lack of landings but it is extraordinary that a few miles from our coast where there are the best fisheries in the world we have imported fish in our shop windows and on our tables. Some practical steps should be taken to ensure that at least for the home market, we shall have continuous supplies of fresh fish available. That probably means there would have to be depots, stores and refrigerators. Bord Iascaigh Mhara would want to have agents throughout the country. They probably have them at the present time but either they are unknown or they have no supplies for the greater part of the year.

Fish is a very wholesome food and there is nothing more appetising, if it is properly cooked. Our vocational schools can do, and have been doing, a lot in popularising fish. Although fish makes a very attractive meal and is one of the most appetising that can possibly appear on the table, we very seldom see that appetising meal appearing on the table in the homes of the working-class people. The reason for its absence is quite evident. There is a lack of continuity of supply. I am not at all satisfied with regard to the amount of progress that has been made in an effort to popularise fish and to make it part of the staple diet of our own people. Fish is not always available in our hotels. I believe that in every home fish should appear on the table at least twice a week and supplies should be readily available to meet that demand. The housewife should not suffer disappointment because of lack of supplies.

I cannot understand why more of our young people have not come forward to avail of the training facilities. I join with the Parliamentary Secretary in appealing to the young people around our coast to come forward and avail of the training facilities which will ensure them a future. We have modern fishing equipment. We have adopted the new methods introduced into fishing. It is vitally essential that our young people should be trained in fishing in the same way as others are trained to equip them for different walks of life. Our skippers and those responsible for the handling of these boats should be fully acquainted with modern methods, should have a knowledge of general repairs, and should learn modern techniques in the same way as fishermen in other parts of the world have learned them. I am disappointed there is such an absence of interest on the part of those boys whose parents and grandparents before them earned a living from the sea. Fishing has been a tradition in some families for generations. There must be something very wrong when these young people will not offer for employment in the fishing industry. Something more should be done to encourage them to come forward and avail of the facilities there for them.

I was disappointed the Parliamentary Secretary did not say more about the fishmeal industry. This industry could ensure our fishermen a market for their catches pretty well all the year round. It could provide compensation for their arduous work. It is very disappointing for them to land their fish and find that there is no market available. That has happened on many occasions. It is a source of discouragement. It is one of the reasons for the disinterestedness in the industry. These men go home to their wives, their catches unsold, with their hands hanging. There is no customer. Naturally, there is no encouragement in that situation. It should be possible, by proper organisation, to ensure a market for every fish the fisherman catches. Apart from fish for human consumption, the fishermen should know that there are fishmeal factories in various parts ready to take all the fish they can catch.

There are, of course, many difficulties. An Bord Iascaigh Mhara is aware of them. A fishmeal factory is very expensive to set up and it will never operate successfully unless a guarantee can be given to the fishermen that all their catches will be absorbed. If that guarantee is not given there will be no constant supply of fish to the factories. As far as I remember, it takes four tons of fish to manufacture one ton of fishmeal. Setting up fishmeal factories around our coast would call for enormous landings of fish to keep the factories in production. We have an unlimited market for fishmeal.

The fishermen in Killybegs did not think so.

Fishing should be made more attractive. If we are prepared to enter into the manufacture of fishmeal we should also be prepared to encourage our fishermen to fish in sufficient quantities to ensure production the whole year round. Such production would make fishing a lucrative industry the whole year round. The men would no longer have to dump their catches back into the sea. The State should be prepared to ensure a reasonable return for all catches landed.

I believe that the Board should be in a position to pay a little more for fish for fishmeal purposes. These fishermen have to meet the cost of living like every other section of the community. They must support their wives and families. They must meet the cost of oil and the cost of repairs to their boats. The price paid for fish for fishmeal purposes is at the moment insufficient. I would ask the Fisheries Branch to examine the matter again from the point of view of the production of fishmeal and the unlimited market available for that product. There are hundreds of fishermen around our coasts who would be prepared to fish solely to supply fish for fishmeal purposes provided their remuneration was a little more encouraging. I believe something more practical can be done. I believe something more practical should be done in this regard.

I want to make reference to the Parliamentary Secretary's announcement which was reported in the Irish Independent of 27th July, 1960— £1,000,000 Scheme for Irish Fishery Harbours—that Castletownbere, Passage East, Howth and Galway were to benefit by a £1,000,000 plan announced yesterday by the Minister for Lands and that work would begin as soon as possible. This is 1962. We realise in Government circles what “as soon as possible” means—1962. It seems to me that no practical work was undertaken in relation to those major fishery harbours.

I want to ask the Parliamentary Secretary whether he is satisfied that the spending of £1,000,000 on these schemes will prevent substantial sums of money from being spent elsewhere throughout the country on piers, breakwaters, harbour facilities and the provision of safe anchorages. We have seen the scheme, which he announced in July, 1960, only on paper from that day to this. It has been repeated here this morning.

I know very well that Castletownbere, Passage East, Howth and Galway are certainly worthy of every scheme of development that can take place there, and I am with it. However, I cannot convince myself for one moment that there is not a good case to be put forward for the spending of considerable sums in relation to other fishery districts that have given a good account of themselves in relation to landings. There is no fishery district around the coast of Ireland that I have not visited from time to time.

That is all you did.

I am quite satisfied that there are many other good and sound cases for the spending of money. I recall that during the term when I was Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture, then responsible for Fisheries, I called on the Bishop of Cork to ascertain his views in relation to fishery development on the Cork coast. I remember inquiring from His Lordship if he had any suggestions to offer as to what we could do, in a practical way, to keep the fishermen in employment in the fishing industry in their own areas. I can recall receiving representations at the time from the late Archdeacon Duggan, then the parish priest of Kinsale, after which I visited Kinsale. I was particularly impressed that Kinsale was one of the areas in the south which lent itself to considerable development.

In regard to the discussions which I had at that time with the Bishop of Cork, I was quite convinced that he was one man who was primarily concerned to see that the fishermen along the extensive coast of Cork who are anxious to remain there, should be encouraged to stay there and that something should be done to devote money to the development of the many fishery districts on the Cork coast. Whatever may be said by the Deputy who is just leaving—Deputy Leneghan—as a result of that visit I undertook to impress on An Bord Iascaigh Mhara the necessity for setting up an iceplant at Ballycotton— which was provided—and for examining the question of an extension of the pier there.

I can remember the voluminous correspondence that was taking place at the time between the Cork County Council, the Fisheries Branch and some other State Departments involved in the matter. I should like to hear from the members of the Cork County Council, who are very vocal from time to time, what has happened, so far as the Cork County Council were concerned, in regard to the extension of the pier at Ballycotton. I should like to hear that: I want it to go on record.

I can distinctly recall that the Department at that time were prepared to give the "all clear" for the extension of the pier at Ballycotton in order that the fishermen might be provided with safe anchorage and improved landing facilities. I was convinced that the industry and skill of the fishermen in Ballycotton could not be allowed to pass without serious thought.

Since my last inquiries in regard to the extension of the pier at Ballycotton, I cannot say what progress has been made by the Cork County Council. However, at the time I was leaving office, the Department were giving the all clear. We were making arrangements for capital to be made available for the work. Cork County Council were to have some borings carried out so as to assist the engineering people in that regard.

Again, on the suggestion of the Bishop of Cork at the time, I visited Schull. I venture to say this about Schull. More was done for the fishermen of Schull during the period of office of the inter-Party Government than was ever done by any Government in this State. Public recognition of that fact was given by the late Father Daly, then parish priest of Schull. I am absolutely convinced that the fishermen of Schull are as courageous and as good as can be found in any part of the world. They were provided with an iceplant. They were provided also with other essentials.

I fail to understand why some considerable sum of money could not be spent on Schull which is a fishing village with a population of over 400 people with a sound fishing tradition. In Schull, there are over 20 very active fishermen who know their job and who have the fishing tradition. Certainly, I am not at all satisfied with the position as regards the pier and breakwater near the village of Schull, reported as being shallow and as affording little protection for fishing vessels, when anchored.

I am absolutely convinced that considerable improvements can be carried out at Ballycotton, in the nature of pier extension, and in the provision of additional landing facilities and improved harbour facilities at Schull where there is such a good fishing tradition. I am also satisfied that the inlet at Cooladarrigan should be examined. The Government should see to it that steps are taken to improve the position there in the interests of the fishermen. I also visited a place called Goleen. I cannot say if the Parliamentary Secretary was ever there.

I was, indeed.

In my opinion, the district of Goleen deserves special attention from the Government. It has been reported to the Government that there is a very good location at Castletownbere with perfectly natural protection and ample shore space. It could easily be developed into a major fishing port. Castletownbere is certainly one of the areas which I felt had great possibilities. I am glad steps are being taken to develop that area but I hope it is not done at the expense of the other areas on the Cork coast such as Ballycotton, Schull, Kinsale and Baltimore. Again, let me say I hope the spending of this money in four areas will not be at the expense of spending none in the other areas.

I should like to know what happened to the survey which was made in 1958 of Clogherhead in County Louth. Will areas like Clogherhead be completely passed over because of the development of the four major fishery stations now being undertaken by the Government? A development scheme for Clogherhead was under consideration by the Department about 1957. In Clogherhead, there are over 40 active fishermen and there are very good fishing craft available in the harbour, which is surrounded by very high rock which would provide ample shelter and safe anchorage. Something could and should be done in that regard.

I always felt that more money should be spent in Skerries. If Howth is to be developed into one of our major fishery stations, it will mean that the fishing in Skerries will be diverted to Howth. I hope that will not be the position and I trust that the improvements which were in progress in Skerries will not be put on the long finger.

Another area which warrants the spending of money on no small scale is Arklow in County Wicklow. In Arklow, again, we have a fine fishing tradition and there is a boat-building tradition which goes hand in hand with the fishing tradition. Before I conclude, I shall deal with the question of boat-building to which I note the Parliamentary Secretary has not made much reference. Arklow deserves considerable financial assistance from the Government for the development of its fisheries.

I should like to avail of this opportunity to pay a tribute to the lifelong service given by the late Larry O'Toole who died during the year. He was a former member of An Bord Iascaigh Mhara and he devoted his whole life to the interests of the fishermen of Arklow. It has been reported to the Government that there are very good possibilities for development in Arklow. A detailed survey was made of sections of the harbour. I want to make a special appeal to the Government that, in the light of the traditions in Arklow, something of a practical nature be done for that area.

Kilmore Quay in County Wexford is another area which is worthy of very special attention. The encouragement given to the fishermen there by the Government has not been very great. Kilmore Quay is one of the first places where the fishermen formed themselves into a co-operative society. They co-operated and worked with one another and they made a considerable improvement in the landings there, and they also made considerable progress. Unfortunately the land of many of the small farmers who were engaged in beet production became affected by eel worm and they had to concentrate on some other means of providing themselves with a living. They went into onion production and then, with the assistance of the co-operative society, they engaged in the fishing industry.

In Kilmore Quay, we have seen a display of hard work and energy on the part of the local people. There is a population of 300 people there and statistics have proved there are 60 very active fishermen and 10 vessels of over 10 tons in the district. Fish landings amounted to over 5,000 cwts. It is well worth keeping these 60 active fishermen and their families in productive employment and they are entitled to their share of State spending. I was very impressed by the standard of efficiency of those fishermen and I feel very strongly that their claim should not be overlooked.

I want to say a brief word about Dunmore East. I am sure Deputy Lynch would prefer me to leave that matter to him, but I want to say that because of my association with Dunmore East it should have been the first place in Ireland to be selected as a major fishery station. The evidence of the activities there is available. There are 30 active fishermen, nine boats of over four tons and the landings have been more than 80,000 cwts. A survey of that site was carried out in 1959 and further investigations were also carried out. I cannot understand why a decision was not taken to make Dunmore East one of the major fishery stations.

I have an interesting cutting here from a newspaper of the day after the Parliamentary Secretary and the Minister for Lands made the announcement about the £1,000,000 scheme for the four fishing harbours. There was a report in the Irish Independent of the 28th July, 1960, with the heading: “Dunmore East Is Annoyed With Plan.” The report goes on to state:

The omission of their town from the £1,000,000 fishery harbour development plan announced yesterday has annoyed the people of Dunmore East.

The report quotes a representative of the fishing industry as saying:

"The omission of Dunmore from the plan is an utter disgrace. Dunmore has been the leading fishery harbour in the country for the past ten years and it is ridiculous to imply that it could not be made safe.

"People have sunk a lot of money in improving premises and extending facilities here and it is all a waste now. People who extended their premises to cater for the usual big influx of fishermen during the herring season are going to be at a grave loss—dissatisfaction is not the word to describe local reaction."

The people of Dunmore East, the fishermen and the population generally, who have thrown their weight behind the fishing industry have every reason to be dissatisfied with the manner in which Dunmore was treated. I would request that the Fisheries Branch examine this matter again. It is not possible that nothing could be done for a place with a record like Dunmore East.

The Parliamentary Secretary should do something about the case of the 20 active fishermen working five boats of ten tons in Ballycotton. In regard to the lobster fishermen in Ballycotton, I do not think the same amount of determination, good working and good management could be exercised on a similar scale anywhere else where lobster fishing is undertaken. There is available now to the fishermen at Ballycotton fuel and ice, and water is available on the pier. An ice plant was erected some time ago. The report made to the Government stated that some improvements could be made at this port. The development of a fishery station there was not recommended but, nevertheless, the report states that some improvements could be made. I ask that these improvements be undertaken as soon as possible.

I should like to hear something more definite from the Parliamentary Secretary about the spending of this money. For example, will the spending of money on the four major fishery harbours mean that there will be no money spent on Portaleen in Donegal where time and again we have read that because of an unsafe anchorage, the fishermen's boats were washed up against the walls of the pier and completely wrecked? The fishermen were at a complete loss over these boats, many of which were new. As a result of the survey carried out some years ago at Glengad and Portaleen, County Donegal, information should have been available to show that something constructive should be done for the 30 active fishermen operating nine boats there of a very considerable tonnage. I take very grave exception to the fact that public money is to be spent in four areas while in a district like Glengad the fishermen's boats and lives are in danger because they lack a proper anchorage and safe landing facilities.

Considerable improvements have been recommended for Burtonport, County Donegal. I would feel very strongly if some money were not spent in those cases and I hope the Parliamentary Secretary will not say that because of the four major fishery stations he has announced everywhere else around the coast is to be knocked on the head. I would like to see some money spent on all the fishing centres around the coast so that all our fishermen would be put in an improved position to increase their landings and work under greater conditions of safety in very bad weather, with safe anchorages for their boats and equipment at least. That is why I am so alarmed at the lack of information about what is happening around the coast with regard to the spending of money on the provision of piers and breakwaters and safe anchorages. I hope we will hear more on that subject from the Parliamentary Secretary.

I also want to make an observation on the subject of boatbuilding. Boat-building is a valuable and important industry, which is linked naturally with the fishing industry. I am not at all satisfied that Bord Iascaigh Mhara have devoted sufficient energy to the development of our boatyards. I remember when the Fianna Fáil Government closed down the boatyard at Meevagh and it was not until Deputy Dillon returned to office that it was reopened. I can remember when the boatbuilding industry was at a very low ebb and when very few were employed in our boatyards. I must say that the boatyards at Dingle, Meevagh, Baltimore and Killybegs could be improved considerably. Private boat-building is carried out by Tyrrells at Arklow who are world famous and have received world-wide recognition for the fine type of craft they turn out in Arklow. Our boatyards are understaffed and there are insufficient apprentices available in them to take over the important work of boat-building.

I should like to know from the Parliamentary Secretary what orders there are for boats and what boats are at present being built in Killybegs, Baltimore, Meevagh and Dingle. We are entitled to that information. I should also like to know if there are more people employed in the industry now than there were in 1957. I should also like to know what has happened to the proposed extension to the boatyard at Dingle. Bord Iascaigh Mhara, on the direction of the Government, were at one time considering the extension of the boatyard in Dingle, but I have not heard a single word about the extension from that day to this. Perhaps the Parliamentary Secretary will let us know what is the future boat-building programme of Bord Iascaigh Mhara.

We should like to know what orders they have on hands and the prospects of getting orders. We should like to know whether there will be depots for the repair and general overhaul of boats at the major fishery stations now to be set up. Would it not be better to extend the existing boatbuilding industries at Baltimore, Meevagh, Dingle and Killybegs so that, in addition to the building of boats, general repairs could be carried out rather than to have all this work carried out in the major fishery stations? If the major fishery stations are to be set up to the detriment of Baltimore, Meevagh and Dingle, this House is entitled to information on the matter.

I am greatly concerned about the future of the boatyards at Baltimore, Meevagh and Dingle. The boatyard at Killybegs will be quite safe because Killybegs has been selected as one of the sites for major fishery development and the boatyard there will be engaged in the building of boats and will also probably obtain an extension for the general overhaul and repair schemes which will be a feature of the major fishery stations. I am concerned about the boatbuilding industry in general and should like to have a detailed statement from the Parliamentary Secretary as to the future of these boatyards and the steps that are being taken to improve and extend them and to increase employment, particularly for experienced personnel.

A great deal of work can be done in this regard. I am not at all satisfied with the amount of work that has been undertaken in this connection. The Parliamentary Secretary should concentrate on boat building and devote his energies to obtaining orders from outside this country so that the industry may be maintained and the largest possible number employed at the boatyards.

I should like now to say a word in relation to inland fisheries. When the Minister for Transport and Power makes a speech at a social occasion he seldom concludes without paying tribute to the Inland Fisheries Trust. When the Minister for Lands speaks at a dinner he never concludes without paying a tribute to the Inland Fisheries Trust. When the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Lands attends a dinner he is loud in his praises about the Inland Fisheries Trust. Not one of them will say that Deputy Dillon established the Inland Fisheries Trust. That is amazing. Would not one imagine that at some time that would slip out of their mouths? The Inland Fisheries Trust was the idea of Deputy Dillon when he was Minister for Agriculture.

The Deputy is very modest.

It was Deputy Dillon who established the Inland Fisheries Trust. It was he who laid the foundation. That cannot be denied. There would be no Inland Fisheries Trust in operation today were it not for the idea of Deputy Dillon, who deserves the gratitude and appreciation of all who have benefited from the Trust. It would be no harm if in their after-dinner speeches the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Lands and the Minister for Transport and Power were to bear in mind that it was Deputy Dillon who established the Inland Fisheries Trust. They could say that without any danger that the meal would choke them.

The Inland Fisheries Trust has been responsible for a transformation in inland fisheries. The Trust has done an excellent job of work. I am with the Parliamentary Secretary in astonishment that every angler in this country is not a member of or subscriber to the Inland Fisheries Trust. Every angler should be a member of the Inland Fisheries Trust. The Trust has a programme of achievement to its credit which no other body connected with the fishing industry can boast of. I want to pay a very special tribute to the manner in which it has been responsible for putting inland fisheries into such a wonderful state of fertility that we can attract tourists of a very profitable character. Hotels, business houses, proprietors of lounge bars and other business people realise that where there are well stocked rivers Bord Fáilte have been able through their publicity drive to attract the most profitable type of tourist, the man who is out all day and comes in in the evening, who spends his day fishing. He is easily pleased and he is a good spender. He spends the night talking about his catches and spending money. He is the type of tourist we want. The development of rivers and lakes by the Inland Fisheries Trust has been responsible for bringing tourists from many part of the Continent who would not have known of Ireland's fisheries were it not for the establishment of the Inland Fisheries Trust. I would ask the Inland Fisheries Trust to continue its good work.

I shall deal later with the poisoning of rivers due to the activities of Bord na Móna. I should like to know the results of the conference between Bord na Móna, the Inland Fisheries Trust and the Fisheries Section. Due to the operations of Bord na Móna many good fisheries have been completely destroyed. I should like to know from the Parliamentary Secretary what steps Bord na Móna are taking to prevent poisoning of fish. There is ample evidence of poisoning. There is evidence of it in the Figile river near Clonbollogue, Offaly, and in many other rivers.

Exactly—the Boyne in Meath and parts of Offaly. There is an obligation on Bord na Móna to take steps to prevent the destruction of prosperous fisheries. There is a report due to this House from the Parliamentary Secretary today on that matter. In the case of the Boyne, the Figile and other rivers very valuable fisheries have been destroyed and valuable private fisheries also have been destroyed due to the activities of Bord na Móna. I should like to know what compensation will be paid and what steps are being taken by the Parliamentary Secretary to provide ample compensation for owners of private fisheries destroyed by the activities of Bord na Móna. It is something that should be dealt with as a matter of grave and special urgency.

On the question of boards of fishery conservators, the Parliamentary Secretary says he will introduce legislation at an early date to revise the system of election and bring it up to date. Such a move is long overdue and I feel no time should be lost in introducing this legislation. Was it not suggested some time ago that a general council of boards of conservators would be set up and that such a general council would meet at least twice a year and be addressed as to their functions by the Minister for Lands and the Parliamentary Secretary? I should like to suggest that the responsible officials of An Bord Fáilte should also attend such meetings in order to encourage greater spending by the Board on advertising our inland fisheries.

There is no doubt that Bord Fáilte have been rather niggardly in their expenditure on advertising of fishing facilities. I feel sure the Parliamentary Secretary has from time to time received Press cuttings of the type of advertising we do in this respect in the British newspapers. It is not sufficient, and I suggest that we establish some sort of liaison between the responsible authorities here and the tourist associations in Britain. Naturally, the last mentioned bodies will be anxious to attract all the tourists they can to their own fishing localities but I feel a conference between the Parliamentary Secretary's Department, Bord Fáilte and interested parties abroad would be most useful in publicising our attractions for the angling tourist.

At this point, I should like to pay a well deserved tribute to the people in the different localities who organise the various fishing competitions, particularly in Westport and at Ballycotton. This type of voluntary effort, if backed up sufficiently by grants either from the Department of Lands or from Bord Fáilte, or both, would do a considerable lot to publicise and accordingly enhance the value of our inland fisheries.

Reverting to the question of boards of conservators, I feel they should considerably increase their protective staffs. I am not at all satisfied that the present salmon levy was necessary and feel that this levy on exports should and must be removed. If there is a change of Government in the immediate future, I can assure the House and the country that this export levy on salmon, introduced ostensibly to increase conservation of our fishing rivers, will be removed immediately. My main objection to it is that the money is not being put to its fullest use in providing protective services for our fisheries. It is going to the relief of the Exchequer and it is a crying shame that the salmon fishermen who earn a hard living and who are at the mercy of the weather should be contributing in this way to the relief of the Exchequer. They pay a levy on every pound of salmon exported. The Fine Gael Party do not believe in it and the minute we get a chance, we will see to it that the money from this levy goes back into the pockets of the fishermen who have earned it so hard and who are being rooked by this unjust imposition. If there is a change of Government, and I am satisfied there will be soon——

Hope springs eternal.

——this is one of the practical things we hope to do.

A practical offer.

We know the money from this levy is going to the relief of the Exchequer in the same way as the extra penny on the packet of cigarettes which was introduced in the cigarette Budget yesterday. As I was saying, boards of conservators have a great responsibility in respect to the protection of our fishing rivers. Many of them, however, have not been very generous with their water-keepers and clerks in relation to wages and salaries and I think the Parliamentary Secretary should be prepared to sanction any move by the conservators to improve the conditions of these people. Where a board of conservators is willing to pay its clerk or its head bailiff or ordinary bailiffs reasonably generously for their services, the Parliamentary Secretary should not withhold sanction. I know of one instance about which I got in touch with the Parliamentary Secretary and in which I am not satisfied the Department were reasonable in withholding sanction. I would ask the Parliamentary Secretary to have that matter re-examined.

Fishery offences have become more prevalent in recent years and I think the Parliamentary Secretary should give us an idea of the number of prosecutions that have taken place in the past year. In this matter also, it might be well if we had an annual report on the workings of the boards of conservators in relation to the protection of our very valuable inland fisheries. We could then have an idea of where extra protective staff is necessary and the Department could take steps, in conjunction with the conservators concerned, to afford such extra protection. District justices are far too lenient in dealing with fishery offences.

The Parliamentary Secretary is not responsible for the decisions of district justices.

In relation to fines for fishery offences?

The Parliamentary Secretary will be responsible under the new Bill, which will include provision in relation to fishery offences.

The Parliamentary Secretary has a right to make a recommendation to the Minister as to whether a fine should be wiped out or should stand.

I do not think we can relevantly discuss the question of fines on this Estimate.

Unless the regulations have changed since I was in the Department, the Minister in charge of fisheries must make a recommendation to the Department of Justice in relation to all fishery offences. When I was Parliamentary Secretary in charge of the Department, Fianna Fáil Deputies were coming in every second day and making representations to save a poacher and get the fines wiped out. They always told me that the poor fellow did not mean it, or that he had only taken one or that he would not do it again. In cases where the Department of Justice invites the opinion of the Parliamentary Secretary I would like him to go on record as saying that those who are guilty of fishery offences will not receive favourable consideration from him or his Department.

I want to pay tribute to the valuable work done not only by some conservators and their water keepers but also to the valuable co-operation we have got from the Garda Síochána in that connection. I would ask that a further circular be sent by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Commissioner of the Garda for distribution to each Garda station in the country asking Gardaí to give every co-operation to the water bailiffs and, where there are no water bailiffs, to ask the Gardaí to keep a close eye on the poachers. I feel that those poachers are unworthy of any consideration. It is the lowest and meanest type of offence of which one could be found guilty.

What is worse, there is still a number of hotels in the country that take illegally caught fish from those poachers. I hope that if the Parliamentary Secretary brings in new legislation he will make it possible to prosecute the owners of hotels and business people——

It is possible.

——so that in the event of the case being proved against them they will be very heavily punished. If those poachers had not got the ready market for their illegal catches they would not be in any great hurry to participate in those activities. I hope the penalties will be made greater and that the activities of the poachers will be so curtailed that they will be eliminated altogether.

I do not propose to say much more on this Estimate except to hope that the Parliamentary Secretary will make a big effort to make a success of the fishing industry. He has been described by his Minister as a very active and energetic young man who does not know the end of hard work. The Parliamentary Secretary has ample scope for his activities in this Department. All he wants is a little more co-operation from the Minister for Finance.

And from you.

We are always ready and anxious to co-operate in anything that is for the good of the country. This Party has a record for not engaging in destructive criticism, but for helping to build up everything in this country today. We are proud of that. We have always been on the side of honest and constructive criticism. Any criticism we make in relation to this Estimate is made in good faith, in a spirit of sincerity and in the hope that those in office will be wiser because of the constructive criticism made from this side of the House.

At the outset I should like to congratulate Deputy Lenihan on his appointment as Parliamentary Secretary. It is seldom that a new member of the House is given charge of a Department and I agree that Deputy Lenihan is a very capable man with many qualifications. However, I feel that he has been assigned to the wrong Department. It is unfair to him that he should be assigned to the Fisheries Branch, living as he does in the centre of Ireland and as far away as possible from the fishing people and the fisheries. Sea fishing is the most important part of the industry and as Deputy Lenihan comes from the Westmeath-Roscommon area his knowledge of practical sea fishing must be limited.

It is peculiar that Fianna Fáil should give such a brilliant man this particular assignment. They must be following the example of Fine Gael when they gave Deputy Flanagan, who comes from a similar location, from Mountmellick in Laois, far removed from the fishing ports of the country, the same office. I am rather surprised that neither Fianna Fáil nor Fine Gael have been able to get anyone from the maritime constituencies to take charge of this Department. I know Deputy Lenihan must be at a great disadvantage in replying to criticism so far as sea fishing is concerned as I am assuming that his practical knowledge is very limited.

There has been the usual talk about increases in grants and incentives for the development of the fishing industry. Looking at the Estimate from an impartial viewpoint, I must say that it is a most depressing one and gives clear cut evidence of the decline of the fishing industry over the past year. Let us examine the figures presented to us here. We have a demand for £380,730 for the Fisheries Branch for the current year. This demand shows an increase of £65,000 from last year when the figure was £315,800. We have increased the personnel of the administrative staff and added three members to that staff. The charge this years is almost £43,000 as compared with £37,000 last year, an increase in the region of £6,000.

We have 36 technical staff and the cost has risen by £2,000 to bring the total to £30,460. Administration accounts for £79,000 of the Estimate. There is £160,000 for Bord Iascaigh Mhara. Then there is the Inland Fisheries Trust, which got so much praise from every side of the House. Deputy Flanagan spoke about it for five minutes to-day, supplementing what had been said about it by the Parliamentary Secretary and by the Minister for Transport and Power. This Trust is costing us £63,000. A figure of £380,730 may not be such a big sum for this Vote, but we must look at what is on the credit side.

We are told that the sea fish catch declined in 1961. The value of landings of all varieties of sea fish, including shell fish but excluding salmon, amounted to £1,357,000, or three times the Estimate for the Department. The only addition that can be made to that figure is in respect of salmon, and we are told that the catches of salmon declined also. Last year there was a catch of 12,000 cwt. of salmon and to this is added the figure of £1,357,000 for sea fish. That was the total income from our fishing last year, if we except coarse fishing, which is mainly sponsored by the Inland Fisheries Trust. The Parliamentary Secretary said we had an income of £1,200,000 from all these fishermen who came in. Who gave him that figure? Who told him that the number of people who came here specifically for fishing increased from 39,000 to 56,000? Is that not merely conjecture? These figures cannot be substantiated. It is just a guess. It is just a little bit of sauce spread over the Estimate to give it a better flavour. But what picture do we find of the number employed in the fishing industry last year? According to the Parliamentary Secretary's statistics, the number of men employed in the industry was a mere 1,631. That was the total number employed around the thousands of miles of coast of this country, with all its natural advantages of harbours and fishing grounds. Surely we have nothing to be proud of in that?

Another depressing feature revealed by the Parliamentary Secretary is that exports of fish last year decreased by £363,000. That is a large figure in comparison with our total exports. Exports decreased from £1,107,000 in 1960 to £744,000 in 1961, a decrease of about 30 per cent. In the constituency of South-West Cork, which I represent and where fishing is extensively engaged in, according to information given by the Parliamentary Secretary in reply to questions tabled by me a few months ago, the income of fishermen has been reduced from £252,456 in 1960 to £202,495 in 1961. Therefore, the income of these fishermen was reduced by over £50,000 or 20 per cent. The fishermen of South-West Cork provide about 18 per cent. of the total catches of fish, quite a reasonable percentage.

In discussing this Estimate those are the factors to be borne in mind. I do not think there was any justification for the preliminary remarks made by the Parliamentary Secretary in his opening statement:

As indicated in the reports published half-yearly, progress has been made on many fronts in the implementation of the Programme for Economic Expansion in so far as it relates to fisheries.

Surely that is an overstatement? Surely there is no justification for making such a statement at all? Where is the progress being made? In what field is it being made? All I can find is the tourist field, where the Minister states that an additional 17,000 people came here to fish last year as a result of the combined efforts of Bord Fáilte and the Fisheries Section. The Parliamentary Secretary could not substantiate those figures in any way, and I am sure he will not be able to do so when replying.

That is the credit side. Let us move now to the debit side. What about the imports of fish? I thought the Parliamentary Secretary would have told us in his introductory statement what we pay for "John West" salmon and the other brands of salmon and tinned fish coming into this country. It may have been an oversight on the part of the Parliamentary Secretary or his officials not to include the sum we pay for imports of fish. Although we enjoy all the advantages of an island country so far as this industry is concerned, I believe we are importing as much fish as we are exporting. I do not know what the figure is, but our exports are only £733,000 and I would not be at all surprised if the import figure exceeded that. I have no doubt that before the debate concludes the Parliamentary Secretary will remedy that oversight and give us the figures for the imports of fish during the past year. My remarks at the outset were entirely justified.

Viewed from any angle, this Estimate presents a very gloomy picture. Going back three or four or five years, we had Parliamentary Secretaries of the day painting pictures suggesting that prosperity was just around the corner, that with extra boats and facilities the numbers of fishermen and their incomes would increase substantially. Earlier, in dealing with the costings of the Department, I overlooked the fact that almost £900,000 has been expended on boats during the past ten years. I think the Parliamentary Secretary said that 16 new boats were made available last year so that we must have an increase in the number of boats, but despite the expenditure of almost £1 million by the Department and through its agencies such as An Bord Iascaigh Mhara, there is a decline instead of an advance in the industry. It seems as if we shall have more office fishermen than sea fishermen soon. We are increasing the staff in the offices and the number of people employed directly or indirectly by the Department or by some of the trusts and boards set up by the Department. We must examine and overhaul in a revolutionary way the question of fishery development. The plans that were thought out in years gone by and which have been put into operation have proved unsuccessful. There is an obligation on this House to consider this question seriously and decide in what way the difficulties can best be remedied.

Coming from a fishing town, I have the opportunity of discussing the industry with people who are daily engaged in it. They feel their biggest handicap is the intrusion of foreign trawlers that come up to the three mile limit and, in many cases, cross it. These take the bulk of the fish so that the percentage that finds its way inshore is relatively small. The fishermen's main agitation, therefore, is in regard to the extension of the fishery limit. I have repeatedly asked this Government and previous Governments to do everything possible to have the limit extended. In an island country like ours this question is more important than in an inland country or even in a maritime country which has just a short coastline. We are now told that this is a matter for an international court, that we can do nothing about it but that the Government are doing everything possible to improve the position. In his statement the Parliamentary Secretary devoted only a few lines to this very important matter. On page 8 of his speech we find this brief reference:

I regret to say that no recent progress has been made towards international agreement on the extension of exclusive fishery limits. We are, however, continuing to seek every possibility of establishing an international rule of law which will recognise extended fishery limits.

That is a very lame effort and the inclusion of those few lines is far too insignificant a reference to such an important matter.

It is clear that other countries have succeeded where we have failed. Some West European countries have extended their fishery limits. We know the fight that some of them made to protect the livelihood of their fishermen. We know the fight Iceland made against the might of Britain. Iceland succeeded after a hard struggle in which all who were engaged in the development of the prime industry in that country co-operated. Other countries have succeeded in breaking the three-mile barrier, but we seem to go hat in hand to these conferences where such matters are debated and we are as mild and meek as schoolboys of five or six years in case we might offend anybody.

Surely the arguments put up by Iceland would also apply in our case? We are an island people; we have a big mileage of coastline; fishing is one of our main industries and we feel there is an obligation on us to extend these limits and to get approval for it. I raised this matter with the Taoiseach some time ago but he side-tracked the issue as much as possible. I understand our chief representative abroad in regard to fishery matters is the former Chief Justice and, if my memory is correct, according to his reported statement at the conference dealing with territorial waters, he was not inclined to push the idea of extending the limits too far at present. The Parliamentary Secretary looks at me but he will find that in the report. We had three representatives at that conference and, without reflecting on them in any way, they were very mild about the matter. On whose instructions did they adopt that attitude, the Department's or the Government's?

I feel very strongly on this question. I believe the Government are not doing what they should do to extend fishery limits. The agitation is too mild. Why should we not imitate Iceland, a much smaller country with their 170,000 people, and take example from them? I had the privilege of listening to a lengthy discourse by the man in charge of fisheries in Iceland and he gave a detailed statement of Iceland's fight for an extension of the limits. What is wrong with our representatives? There are 86 of them in the Fisheries Division. I do not know how you could possibly keep 86 people going in a Government office dealing with an industry in which only 1,631 people are employed, most of whom would be doing their job if there was never a person in that office and if the Fisheries Division were not in existence at all and, who, before it was in existence, were working away. Could we not assign a few of these 86 who may have specialised knowledge on this question to getting some information as to how other countries went about extending their limits and have succeeded? The Minister is in a better position than I am to find out the extent to which they succeeded. It must be borne in mind there is only one other country outside of Britain like ourselves, an island country.

I am sure the other members of the staff could manage the ordinary day-to-day business while those assigned to this work could find out all about the international question of fishery limits. They could be asked to get some information from the Icelandic Government as to how they conducted their campaign and I have not the slightest doubt that that information would be forthcoming and that we would get somewhere after a time. For goodness sake, let us not be sending out people to these conferences about fishery limits to make the same plea as was made by our last representatives. What is the use in paying their fares out and expenses in order that they may agree, as is reported in the report which I read, not to press this question at the present time. I want the Parliamentary Secretary to tell us why the Government are not pressing this vital question.

We are pressing it.

I know this is not a departmental question but we are told here by those in charge that they are actually engaged in that work. We were told by the Taoiseach that the Government are actively engaged in it but their interest must be diminishing in view of the paucity of information in the small report submitted here.

The reason I deal with this question at such length is that this is supposed to be responsible for our difficulties in regard to fishing and for the decline in the intake of fish. I am satisfied that the statements of these practical men are entirely correct. Our fishermen do not trespass on any other country's waters. We do not send men to Iceland, Britain, France or any other country adjoining the sea to fish and to trespass. Our rights should be respected. We do not encroach on the livelihood of people engaged in fishing in any other European country. All we are asking in return is that the livelihood of our fishermen be preserved and that foreign fishermen keep a respectable distance away from our shores.

This is an international question which has been taken up by countries in several continents. There is scarcely another country in the world that could make as strong a case as we can. I do hope that when we come to discuss this question next year, some progress will have been made in that direction and that the Parliamentary Secretary will take note of my suggestion about doing a great deal of research work without any additional imposition on the taxpayer by taking away some of the officers of the Division and assigning them to this very important work.

In the course of his statement, the Parliamentary Secretary dealt with the disposal of fish. The system of fish distribution comes in for a great deal of adverse criticism on every debate on this Estimate. There is a great deal of unnecessary transport cost which causes inconvenience. A great deal of the fish caught in Schull, Castletownbere or the western ports would be sent to Dublin for disposal and much of it finds its way back to Cork and elsewhere. I know there has been some improvement in that position but more could be done in that regard. The fish merchants could be more co-operative than they are at the present time. It is quite easy to get fish when there is little or no demand for it even in coastal towns near the fishery grounds, but if there is any market at all they will not keep a supply for the local markets. There is no stability in so far as prices are concerned. When fish is sent up to the Dublin market, if the supply exceeds the demand, the price is small but if it so happens that the demand exceeds the supply, the opposite is the case and the income from fishing is more or less a gamble. If you are fortunate enough to have a good quantity of fish when the supply is reduced in the main Dublin market, your income is good, but if, on the other hand, you are selling your fish when the supply exceeds the demand the income is very much reduced.

Could the Parliamentary Secretary, with his technical advisers, devise a system whereby prices could be stabilised and would not fluctuate to any great degree and where on days on which fish is in plentiful supply, the surplus fish could be put in cold storage with a view to selling it on days when fish may be in short supply. That would be more satisfactory from every point of view, from the point of view of the fishermen and the point of view of the people here in Dublin because the consumer of fish in Dublin city has to pay, I would say, about four times as much for the fish as the man who actually catches the fish gets for it. The average whiting sent up from Schull and for which the fisherman receives less than a penny costs the housewife in Dublin at least 6d.

That side of the question should be looked into because if the consuming public, particularly the people in the largely populated areas like Dublin and Cork city, have to pay an exorbitantly high price for fish, they may change to some other commodity. It is the duty of the Parliamentary Secretary to ensure that fish is sold to the consuming public at a reasonable price and that the profits in the industry are fair and just and not exorbitant. It should be possible to replace some of the imported fish now with fish caught by our own fishermen. We should be able to replace the imported fish which is now distributed in inland towns—indeed, it is also distributed in some of our coastal towns—with fish caught by our own fishermen.

With regard to harbours, the Minister has indicated that he intends to improve four harbours on a major scale. As is to be expected, little or no progress has been made by the Government so far in this direction. It is now more than two years since that announcement was made by the Government. It was, of course, made on the eve of an election. The Government were anxious to keep in the good graces of the people living around the coast. That was why they announced these development plans. There was no need to announce them at the time except for the purpose of getting some propaganda value. Having come through the election on a photo finish—I am referring to the general outcome of the election now —is it not time to get down to the work of constructing the piers that were promised? Naturally, many areas are interested in these development works. I am particularly interested in Castletownbere. No very major work has been done there. I appeal to the Parliamentary Secretary to step up the work as much as possible. The intake of fish last year at Castletownbere was in the neighbourhood of £130,000 worth. If proper facilities are provided, that sum will be increased.

We must, of course, take cognisance of the claims of other areas. We cannot spend large sums on all these harbours. It should be possible, however, to establish a fund wherewith to carry out essential works in areas where we feel such works are warranted. There is no need to spend big sums in some places and we could apportion the fund for the benefit of recognised fishing harbours where the public utility nature of the work is quite clear. I appeal to the Parliamentary Secretary to address himself to that side of the matter also. He is newly come to office and it is difficult for a young man to get round to everything but, with his marked qualifications, I have no doubt he is making himself conversant with all aspects of the fishing industry.

Reference was made to the training of fishermen. I have been approached by a number of potential recruits to make representations on their behalf. They want to be allowed to use the training facilities that exist in their own areas. A man in Schull cannot understand why he should go to Galway to train when facilities are available locally. There are first-class boats manned by skilled fishermen, men who have been brought up on that type of work almost from infancy. They know everything that is to be known. These potential recruits believe they could get as good knowledge and experience in their own areas as they would in Galway or Dublin. I ask the Parliamentary Secretary to consider these representations and, if possible, permit recruits to be trained locally when he is satisfied that the training will be both efficient and effective.

Deputy Flanagan had something to say about inland fisheries and their development. He referred to our respect for fishery rights and more or less hinted that we should execute any person caught poaching. I do not agree with that view at all. As I have stressed, on more than one occasion, every river and lake in the country should be free to anyone armed with a licence and the necessary equipment. There are large stretches of rivers and magnificent lakes confined now to certain people and the local people have no right to go into the local office, pay a fee, and go along to fish on these reservations. The Government should address themselves to that position. Some of these reserved fisheries were given under charters as far back as Charles II. Those charters still hold good.

It is time we gave freedom of fishery rights to all our people. I do not think it can be argued that fishery rights should be reserved, but, if there is a good case for reservation on particular rivers and lakes, I cannot see why adjoining landowners on other rivers and lakes should not get the same rights. The law should be impartial. It should be applied equitably. We read in the paper where Lord So-and-So, on a visit to Ireland, caught nine fish on a stretch of the Blackwater. So well he might, fishing on a reserved portion of the river which is helped considerably by the funds we are pouring into the Fishery Division. Many people disapprove of the reservation of fisheries and they see no harm in poaching. I have no doubt that if the fisheries were available to all our people, there would be no poaching whatsoever. Indeed, if there were poaching, we would be just as hard on the poacher as Deputy Flanagan was anxious we should be this morning.

Until such time as we have a proper system of licensing and control, with our fisheries free to all who are prepared to pay a fee, we will still have poachers. A prosecution for poaching does not at the moment reflect on either the character or integrity of the poacher. The Parliamentary Secretary may rest assured of that, despite anything Deputy Flanagan may say.

Now the Minister for Transport and Power was very annoyed whenever this discussion was mentioned in the House. He was so annoyed that he was inclined to leave. One felt he might get up at any minute and go out. He resented it very much. He said it was entirely unfair to mention the matter in the House. He said that it was tantamount to asking someone to encroach on private rights and private property. He said that these people were entitled to have these stretches of rivers and stretches of lakes, that that was that and that he did not intend to do anything about it.

I could understand that statement coming from the Minister for Transport and Power in his personal capacity. He is a man who would have the right to fish on these reserved fisheries. He would be in close contact with the people who enjoy these rights. That view would be all right coming from him in his personal capacity. However, in his former capacity as Minister for Lands and his present capacity as Minister for Transport and Power, and as a Minister of the Government, I do not see any justifiable right on his part in upholding these ancient charters of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries — and that applies to any Deputy.

Do not forget that it was in both the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries that all these reservations were granted. I know that additional difficulty has arisen, so far as reserved fisheries are concerned, since that time. A number of people have got the reservations from people who, incidentally, had no right to give them. They were taken from the Irish people in the first instance by force. They were held by outside people, wrongfully, and then they were sold again — of course, to other people — since the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. In my view, the Government should rectify that position. If they feel it would be unfair to take away a private fishery from a particular owner at present, then why not draw up some terms of compensation?

I am now asking the Parliamentary Secretary to consider this matter carefully. He is a young man. He has a good deal of energy and a good deal of knowledge. I appeal to him, so far as our history and our laws are concerned, to make some efforts in that direction to try to compensate people who may have bought these rights from ancient lords, dukes, earls, and so on. Such people may be entitled to some compensation. At the same time, they should have known what they were doing when they bought them. They should have known that possibly the man who was selling the rights was neither morally nor legally entitled to the ownership of such property.

In any case, to be fair to everyone, I am sure that a proposal — especially if it were to be by way of State subvention or State fund — for the compulsory purchase of such reservations would meet with the unanimous approval of the House. In that way, we would give these people compensation and then wipe out this reserve business that such and such a stretch of river or lake is reserved to the Duke of such and such or somebody else. Only then will we have complete respect for our fishery laws. When that day dawns, as it surely will dawn some time or other, I am sure, knowing the mentality of our people, that there will be no need to have water-keepers to watch over our streams, rivers and lakes. Everyone will know he has equal entitlement to fish wherever he so pleases and that the law is fair and equitable and just.

I do not propose to delay the House any longer. I am closing on the note that I hope that something courageous will be done by the Parliamentary Secretary during his term of office to improve this industry. It will need courageous handling to bring it back from its present decline to what it used to be in days gone by. We know very well that the number of fishermen mentioned to-day— 1,631—is only a fraction of the proportion of fishermen engaged in fishing in years gone by. We have a decline in the number of our fishermen. We have a decline in exports. We have have a decline in exports. We have a decline all round. The only directions in which we have increases are on the administrative and technical sides.

In conclusion, may I wish the Parliamentary Secretary luck—if I should so use that term—in his efforts to develop this industry. I have great confidence in him as a Parliamentary Secretary. I know he is a very sincere and reliable representative. I hope he will make himself better acquainted with the problems which confront this country in relation to fishing, particularly such problems as confront the men engaged in sea fishing. I trust that, as a result of his activities over the year, together with the Board, his other Department and his advisers, we shall have a brighter picture before us, whoever will be alive to see it, when the Estimate for this Department falls to be discussed in this House in twelve months' time.

I want to congratulate the Parliamentary Secretary on the occasion of his first introductory statement on the Estimate for this Department in this House as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Lands. His statement is good. It is quite easy to digest. In my view, he is on the right road to success.

I welcome the Parliamentary Secretary's statement in regard to the reduction in the payment of gales for boats that are on hire purchase from An Bord Iascaigh Mhara. Every Deputy who comes from a fishing area will admit in this House, and outside it, that it was very difficult for these fishermen to pay their gales in the winter time. The most any fisherman can get out of the sea in any year is six months' work. Certainly, he would have to have calm weather to be able to fish for those six months of the year in, say, a 30-foot or 35-foot boat. I have made representations before to the Parliamentary Secretary on behalf of people who wrote to me and told me they were unable to pay their gales during the winter months though they might be able to pay a little more, or maybe even twice the amount, in the summer. In my view, the reduction will help them in no small way.

I am interested in the announcement as regards the harbours at Killybegs, Castletownbere, Passage East, Howth and Galway. There is one thing which the Parliamentary Secretary should keep in mind in regard to major fishing harbours and it is the question of the repair of the boats—mechanically and otherwise but especially mechanically—which are under his jurisdiction. I know that the fishing fleet in Galway in the past had difficulties if they had their boats out from An Bord Iascaigh Mhara. If something went wrong with the engine of a boat or if some other mechanical defect arose while the boat was at sea, the fishermen would have to send, perhaps, as far as Killybegs or somewhere else for a fitter to have it repaired and it might take them three or four days to have the job carried out.

Consider the loss of earnings to the fisherman while his boat was held up for repair in addition to the time taken to bring it to the place of repair and then to bring it back again to the place where the fishing would be carried out. There should be some ways and means of having, say, a little dépôt which would have spare parts for the engines. In that way, a boat could get to a dépôt quickly for whatever repair might be necessary and the fisherman would be assisted to spend as much time as possible fishing. If engine trouble occurs in a boat at sea they could pull into a nearby dépôt at night and in maybe less than 24 hours a part could be repaired or a replacement fitted and they could be out again on the fishing grounds in as short a time as possible. In my view, that seems to be the only way to overcome the present delay. It seems to be the only way to keep the fishermen at their job for as long a time as possible and with the least expense to themselves.

I come now to the question of piers. From the point of view of the protection of fishing boats, I consider that the question of piers in general along the coast must be tackled right away. The Parliamentary Secretary may not be responsible because certainly the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Lands and the Department of Transport and Power come into it.

Boats are given out to fishermen along the coast but they may have to travel 12, 15 or even 20 miles to harbour the boats and protect them from the high seas, especially at night or over a long week-end. A general survey of the piers for the protection of boats should be carried out by the Fisheries Branch of the Department as soon as possible. These fishermen should be given protection for their new boats. They certainly do not want to see them destroyed because they are trying to make their livelihood with them.

About a week ago, I put down a Question in connection with the pier at Clifden. I had a letter from a boat man on Turbot Island who said that while he had got a new boat, it was impossible for him to protect it. He had to travel long distances. On a very stormy night he had to take it out from the harbour where it was not safe, anchor it at sea and stay on it during the night. That position should be righted. A survey of our piers should be carried out as quickly as possible. At the same time the question of the repair of our piers especially in the Fíor-Ghaeltacht area is a matter for the Department of the Gaeltacht.

A few weeks ago a pier was sanctioned by the Department of the Gaeltacht and a grant was to be given but the local authority engineer recommended to us at a meeting that we should not take it over. He was not teetotally against it but he recommended that it should not be taken over. At the same time, there was one boat on hire purchase from An Bord Iascaigh Mhara harbouring at that pier, if not two. However, when I said there were at least two such boats harbouring there he agreed. When I asked what it would cost to maintain the pier he said it might cost £1 in 50 years, it might cost nothing, or it might cost £300. It is a disgraceful situation if a local engineer or anyone else has to recommend that a local authority should not take over piers at which there are boats on hire purchase from An Bord Iascaigh Mhara and when fishermen are expected to travel 20 miles to harbour the boats. That should not be allowed to continue in our fishing industry.

I welcome the announcement made by the Parliamentary Secretary in regard to the transfer of at least some of the Fishery Branch to Galway. I agree that boring is taking place. Yesterday morning I saw the boring of the foundation or whatever it may be and I was glad to see it taking place.

Deputy Murphy said there were fewer fishermen fishing this year than last year. Perhaps, that may be a mis-statement. I am not so sure that it is correct. I should like a census to be taken of the fishermen all over the country, and especially along the coasts. People fish with their own boats and sell the fish. For example, in my own area they sell fish of all kinds and lobsters. If a census were taken of all fishermen in general I think it would give a truer picture than just counting those fishing with An Bord Iascaigh Mhara boats.

On the question of the protection of our fishery rights I feel, and have always felt, that we will never be able to deal with the people involved until we have a helicopter. With a helicopter we would be able to see some of the foreign trawlers off the coast in general and especially the Aran Islands, Cleggan and Boffin Island. The fishermen say they see them in the mornings moving away from the fishing places. They often cut across their lines and nets and sever them. Our fishermen can do nothing about it but if a helicopter took an early morning run on a certain coast line one week, and another run on another line the next week, we could overcome much of the problem.

Inland fisheries has not been touched on by anyone. There are hundreds and hundreds of spawning rivers and lakes all over the country but with cloud bursts and heavy rain they get choked up with sod, mud and rocks, with the result that the spawning is destroyed. That will have to be tackled if we want to keep up the standard of the fish and clean up the spawning beds for the future.

The sale of fish by An Bord Iascaigh Mhara is another thing that will have to be tackled. We do not use a lot of fish but I think the reason is that the distribution is very bad. People would eat more fish, but the trouble is they cannot get it. The position is probably all right in the cities and large towns. If there were centres through the country which would supply fish, small depots from which vans could supply a particular area each week or every few days, the sale of fish would probably go up.

I agree with a certain amount of what Deputy Murphy said about the rights held by certain people on rivers and lakes. That question should be looked into by the Parliamentary Secretary and the Department and the Minister. Throughout the country in general there are people who own large stretches of mountainside and land that is not very good. Some of them may own anything up to 2,000 or 3,000 acres or that amount may be owned by from five to ten people in a village. The fishing rights belong to some one else although they pay rent and rates. The fishing rights should be handed over to them. They are willing to pay something to buy them but they are not given a chance to own the fishing rights and to enable them to fish off their own banks. If they do fish some one comes along and says: "You are trespassing on my fishing rights. If you do not stop I will have you prosecuted." That is the wrong way to go about it.

The Parliamentary Secretary is a young and able man and I wish him every luck. There is no doubt from the way he has started that he will certainly, if it is at all possible, make a good job of the work entrusted to him.

Notice taken that 20 Members were not present; House counted and 20 Members being present,

I regret that the Minister is not here. I want to talk about the policy of the Fisheries Branch. I wish Deputy de Valera would be a little more orderly. He is the cause of the House being counted and now he comes in and starts to carry on a conversation in a loud voice.

I heard a statement this morning in relation to work on piers and installations in places which justified it because of the size of the catches. For many years, the policy of the Department has never taken account of the size of the catches in any port when any kind of installation was being erected in any of these ports. They have been consistent in keeping away from the port that catches the most fish. I heard my colleague, Deputy Flanagan, speaking here to-day about the time when he was in charge of the Department. I am not afraid to take him to task about that. He told us about meeting the late Father Daly in West Cork. It was a pity he died because if he had been employed with the Department, he could have sold anything, seeing that he sold the port to Deputy Flanagan so well that an iceplant was put up there. There it remains. Nothing has been done in this iceplant.

A Parliamentary Question was asked here some time ago regarding this iceplant and if something could be done to have it used. It is a terrible situation that large sums of public money are just poured into places where no fish are caught. We have a great example of Fianna Fáil's faith and the manner in which they can break it and their word. We have an instance of this stupid policy of the Fisheries Branch in a Budget statement made by a Minister. When the 1957 Budget was introduced by the Minister for Finance, he said that over £50,000 was being allotted to build an ice plant and fish factory at Dunmore East. That is on the record and it was trumpeted over Radio Éireann that night and headlined in the Irish Press the following day. Only about five weeks afterwards, I asked the Minister in charge of Fisheries how much was to be spent on Dunmore East and he told me that the amount mentioned in the Budget Statement was a misprint but that they would build an iceplant in Dunmore. The Fisheries Branch built an iceplant in Dunmore East. It was inadequate the day it was planned and inadequate the day it was built. In the Minister's statement today, he says that he is going to have a further installation made to the iceplant. That proves that it was inadequate the day it was put up.

I have been bringing this before the House constantly but not much notice has been taken of it. I hope the new Parliamentary Secretary will take some notice of the stupid policy of the Department. We find here in the outlay on fishing ports for the year before last that Killybegs got £102,000; Galway, £67,000; Schull, £36,000; Dingle, £21,000; Baltimore, £21,000; Dunmore East, £19,000 and Castletownbere, £13,000. It is interesting to read the catches as against the outlay. The place that got the £19,000 caught just 300,000 boxes of fish— more fish than the rest of the ports put together. The port into which money is poured without reserve, Killybegs, caught 101,000 boxes of fish; Schull caught 14,000 boxes, Baltimore, 19,000 and Galway, 36,000. I will have something to say about that. Castletownbere caught 2,000 boxes and Greencastle, which in last year's Estimate for the Office of Public Works was to have £50,000 spent on it and the same amount the previous year, caught 2,000 boxes of fish.

This is a stupid and ridiculous policy. Severe damage was caused to the pier at Dunmore East during the winter gales but no repair work has been carried out. Now we find that the Department decided to bring over Carl J. Bjuke, harbour consultant, and having received his report are evidently not going to act on it. Their idea was to have a great fishing port at Passage East. The report says that Passage East should be made a major port. That is down the river from Dunmore East, a very safe anchorage and a very fine place. There was great activity there. There was great disappointment in Dunmore East. They have been digging holes there for some time and recently we were told that the currents are creating difficulty and that it is a very difficult place in which to construct a pier and a breakwater and there is talk that they may go back to Dunmore. I hope note will be taken of what I am saying and that it will be brought to the notice of the Parliamentary Secretary. I would ask him to state where it is to be. Is it to be at Passage or at Dunmore?

Frequently Deputies appeal for the construction of a pier in their constituency. In my view, piers should be erected where fish are caught. It is not just because a man might have a boat that the State should go to the expense of constructing a pier. Take the case of Schull, where there is an iceplant installation. We were told there were about 20 fishermen there. They had to spend £36,000 on it. I think the fishermen would be glad to settle for £1,000 each and go somewhere else. It is stated in the report that there are nine boats of over ten tons owned by Dunmore people. From information I have from the Minister's Department, of the 117 boats allocated by Bord Iascaigh Mhara over ten years, one boat was allocated to Dunmore—the port where most of the fish is caught. If Dunmore were to get its fair share of boats according to the volume of fish caught, it should have got 80 boats.

It may be said that the Dunmore men do not apply for boats. The Dunmore men got so tired of applying for boats and so frustrated by broken promises that most of them are fishing in other people's boats, what we call foreign boats, or sailing the seven seas. It was another instance of the consistency of the Fisheries Division in connection with the main fishing port over the past 30 years that in allocating 117 boats, Dunmore East got one and one was given to Helvick. I know all about that boat.

Even though it is not in my constituency, I can mention again Kilmore Quay—a great fishing port. One need only be there to recognise that it is the greatest fishery in the country, as has been proved. Kilmore Quay got one boat. That again is a measure of the interest of the Board in Kilmore.

It may be suggested that Deputies in making a case for their constituency make exaggerated claims but I have here a statement of the Minister for Lands on 26th October 1960. In reply to a Supplementary Question by Deputy O'Donnell as to where the Cú Feasa was cruising the Minister said:

If the Deputy has misunderstood me, by protection I mean the conservancy of Dunmore East fishery which is the most important one on our coasts.

That led me to hope that that fact had penetrated into the Minister's head.

I have seen 7,000 cran of herring landed at Dunmore on a Monday morning, 7,000 landed on the next day and 7,000 landed on the next day. The men had to stop fishing on the Thursday, not because the fish could not be sold but because there was no ice. The ice factories were in Galway, Castletownbere and elsewhere where they were not wanted. I shall read out a litany of them: Killybegs, Cloghan, Donegal, Castletownbere, Ballycotton, Murrisk, Galway, Cahirciveen and Schull. The smallest ice factory was built to meet the great catches in Dunmore.

Apart from the great catches being landed at Dunmore, fish can be sold there. I do not have to come here and ask the Minister to arrange for fishmeal factories so that the fish landed at Dunmore can be converted into fishmeal. Buyers come from Germany, Holland, France, England, Scotland and bid for the fish against Irish buyers. That is the way it should be. Not only is Dunmore a great fishing ground but it is a great fish market. The fish trade know where to come for fish. It is impossible to get that message across to the Fisheries Division.

I do not know how it can be arranged, managed or fixed but £100,000 was spent in Greencastle in the past year and there were 2,000 boxes of fish brought into it.

I have here another blister for the Department. I quote from The Kerryman of Saturday, February 4th, 1961: “The Killybegs Fish Surplus that Never Was”, was the headline. “Cost of three months employment of 30 people to process it was £2,333 a head”— a scandalous waste of public money.

I do not expect money to be pumped into Dunmore just for the sake of Dunmore fishermen or others fishing there but would it not be a splendid thing if there were a great installation in Dunmore instead of in places where it is useless? When fishermen come from Killybegs, Louth, Howth and West Cork, to Dunmore and land great catches and get good prices, there is the sorry story of the pier there on which not one pound has been spent for 20 years.

We had the continuation of that policy in the purchase of the three famous trawlers. I have been constantly asking who surveyed these trawlers before they were bought. Who passed them as seaworthy? Who said they were boats which could go out to fish? Were officials of the Department of Lands responsible, or did they employ a firm of ship surveyors to do it? If they did, I suggest they never again employ such surveyors. These boats were bought in 1952 in Germany. I suppose we could not have bought them elsewhere. We could not have bought them from the French or from the Dutch, but, above all, we could not have bought them from Britain, although we are very glad to get the British to buy our fish from us.

The boats were got to Killybegs, and I emphasise that they were "got" there because it was a great feat of seamanship to get these three rusty buckets into Killybegs, where they were tied up for years. In an Adjournment Debate in the House on July 20th, 1960, I raised this issue and discovered that the Minister for Lands was very annoyed at what he alleged were Deputy Dillon's efforts to sabotage the boats in seeking to sell them for £90,000. He said Deputy Dillon should have had the boats fitted with new engines instead of keeping them tied up. He knew why the boats were tied up. He knew very well it was because they were not seaworthy. Eventually, they were fitted with new engines and put to sea, and the Minister for Lands was delighted to tell us that the boats landed £250 worth of fish. What he did not tell us was that it cost £280,000 to land that fish—a very expensive consignment. Yet he blamed Deputy Dillon for trying to sell the boats for £90,000. Eventually, seaworthy as the Minister said the boats were, he sold them for £33,000, after deduction of shipbroker's fees.

I just want the Parliamentary Secretary to know the type of policy that has been followed by the Fisheries Section for years. I should like him to know that I am not making these criticisms from a Party point of view. I had as much to say against his predecessor earlier for allowing the erection of installations and the improvement of piers in areas where no fish are landed. I hope he will stop that. I do not want to see any more Board of Works Estimates coming in here for anything from £50,000 to £100,000 for the provision of installations and piers at little places on the coast where no fish are caught. I would ask him to concentrate more on Dunmore East and Passage East. I shall not make any distinction between them as regards suitability because it is in the Waterford estuary the fishing grounds are. Not only have we got the fishing grounds but we have also got the best fish market. People from all over the country employ lorries to send their fish to be sold at Dunmore East.

Yet we have all this nonsense of people coming in here starry-eyed, talking about some little cove where some man or some supporter has a boat and who wants to get a big fishing pier built for that boat, although he has no hope whatever of catching any fish. There is also the question of the iceplants which have been built around the country. No matter how substantial, I suggest they be taken down and reassembled at ports where they catch fish.

On the question of the training of young men either to fish or to navigate boats, I have been told by many young fishermen in my constituency and elsewhere that they would not go to the training school in Galway because they prefer to train on their own fishing grounds where they intend to earn their livelihood. That is reasonable. Bord Iascaigh Mhara have taken back 22 boats which they had given out but which were not paid for. I should like to know what will become of those boats. Will they be offered to people after they have been reconditioned and made seaworthy. I consider that a fishing port of the importance of Dunmore East should have a drydock for the overhauling of the boats. The geography of the port is such that it could be constructed with very little expense.

The Parliamentary Secretary has said that we are to have a new exploratory boat. I should like to know if the Cú Feasa is a first-class boat? I should like to know if it is a fact that she has to run for shelter if there is a squall? I should like to know if she is a seaworthy boat? If it is a fact that she is not a first-class seaworthy boat, the Parliamentary Secretary should see that her design is altered.

As far as fishing limits are concerned, I consider that the Minister's predecessors did a very good job when they had the fishing limits measured from the base lines. That is a great thing and it has definitely increased our fishing area. Now we have Deputies looking for a 12-mile limit. If I live long enough and if the people of Waterford keep on sending me here, I will look for the 12-mile limit when we are able to go out and fish in that area. This matter may be outside the scope of the Parliamentary Secretary's functions, but he has some say in it. We have large corvettes engaged in the protection service and they do the best they can, but if they catch one of those enormous trawlers and take them into port, all the lads outside come in and scoop out the whole place. I think we should have large armed cutters supporting the corvettes. The corvette could catch the poachers and the cutters could bring them into port,

I have seen some of these enormous ships fishing off our coasts. They are not trawlers at all. These are not the small Spanish boats; they are big boats of up to 1,000 tons. They use nets with a very fine mesh which the fishermen say would let nothing escape but water. These are the people that could destroy a fishery. We must keep them at bay and see that they do not get inside the three-mile limit from the base lines. They must take very large catches of fish, judging from the fact that they are loaded to the water-line and that each boat can carry 500, 600 or 700 tons of fish.

There is great necessity for the strengthening of the fishery protection service. On a reasonably clear night from the heights at Annestown, I could look out to sea and it seemed as if there were a line of telegraph poles with lights on top of them stretched all along the coast from Helvick Head. It was a line of these great fishing vessels. They were not fishing inside the three-mile limit, but the Parliamentary Secretary can imagine that if the corvette were withdrawn, or had to go into port for any reason, or had made an arrest and had to bring the vessel into port, this armada could swoop in and clear up the whole place. They would not leave even bait in the area. I exhort the Parliamentary Secretary to see that the corvettes are reinforced. It has been mentioned that a helicopter would be a help and I am sure the Parliamentary Secretary will look into that matter.

In regard to the marketing of fish at home, we are all aware that even in the most outlying districts, small shopkeepers have a small container for icecream. I would ask the Parliamentary Secretary to investigate the possibility of supplying chilled fish to the country districts. There was a time in this country—it was not a time of great refrigeration—when all the districts around the coast had people with ponies and carts. They used to buy the fish when it was landed and go around the country calling the fish and selling it. I have seen them go inland for a distance of 20 miles and sell all the fish they had.

Recently I asked a young man in the retail business to send a vanload of fish to a place without notice. He sent the vanload to Thomastown and he sold the whole lot within an hour and a half. The people in the inland places like to get fresh fish. However, the people who used to take out the fish with their ponies and carts have all gone but I would suggest that we should try a system of supplying shopkeepers in the country districts with small ice cabinets in which the fish could be kept for sale. However, that matter should be investigated.

There is often criticism of the conditions which Bord Iascaigh Mhara impose in regard to the hire purchase of boats. There is only one boat on hire purchase in my constituency, so I cannot speak for that, but people from other constituencies have told me that Bord Iascaigh Mhara have been generous where people have been unable to meet their commitments, that it is only in desperate cases that boats are taken back and that every help and incentive is given to the men who get the boats. I happened to be in a port myself one day and I saw there 12 boats, nine of them Bord Iascaigh Mhara boats. They should have been out fishing, but I shall not say any more about that.

We are also told that there should be organised co-operatives to sell fish. That is all very well, but it is a good thing to have people who know their business and who have been in the fish trade for generations. I would not like the Parliamentary Secretary to turn his face only to the co-operatives and to turn his back on the well-established branch of the fish trade.

In my opening remarks, I said I would like to know whether Passage East or Dunmore East will be chosen for development. It is about time we were told. The Minister also stated that proposals for the improvement of various landing places around the coast are also being considered. I would exhort him to see to it that we do not spend a penny anywhere except where fish are being caught.

I am very glad the Parliamentary Secretary devoted four or five pages to the Inland Fisheries Trust. It is always nice to have the ranks of Tuscany cheer, but we never hear the ranks of Fianna Fáil cheer what their opponents have done. It is a matter of some pride to us that the Inland Fisheries was Deputy Dillon's idea.

Nearly everybody commented on how young the Parliamentary Secretary was. I know he is active. I want to draw his attention to the waste that has taken place in the Fisheries Division over the past eight or nine years. I want him to tell me when replying, who O.K'd these three trawlers. I do not want anybody to say I am being hard. We Deputies could not afford to make such a mistake. If we made a mistake about so much money or about anything so important, our constituents would chop our heads off.

In conclusion, I wish the Parliamentary Secretary the best of luck on his way through the jungle he is entering.

A lot of play has been made here to-day about the position of Ballycotton. The person we found most interested in Ballycotton was the present Minister for Defence when he was Parliamentary Secretary with responsibility for Fisheries. He attended two meetings of the county council with me and expressed the view of his Department that Ballycotton was the best harbour in the south and that it certainly should be developed. Unfortunately, the county council fell into the hands of one of those geniuses known as consultants. It took him five years to prepare a report on Ballycotton and the extension of the pier there. When he had finished, he said he wanted borings. Then Deputy Flanagan came along as Parliamentary Secretary. He went on the lines that he would come down and make an examination on the spot. He spent two good holidays with us and I think he enjoyed the lobsters. At any event, he was fully supplied with them. Even though it was delayed action, I will assure the people of Ballycotton that he repaid their kindness here to-day.

When all is said and done, have we made much progress? I was at a conference about five months ago with officials of the Fisheries Division, the county engineer and his assistants and the consultant. The borings had been got after a long time poking and we thought everything was straightened out; but the last thing the consultant looked for was £4,000 for a model of the famous harbour to know what extensions he was going to make.

I do not know what is the attitude of the present Parliamentary Secretary. There are 12 or 13 trawlers in Ballycotton with about 52 small boats. Foreign trawlers coming in for protection in bad weather have actually wrecked a number of the small boats inside in the basin because there is no room there. When we pass money here for the Fisheries Division, we are not passing it for a few glorified spots here and there around the country. I expect that the fishermen of Ballycotton, who derive their livelihood from fishing, will be entitled to have their pier extended and get all the protection they require, and no thanks to anybody. I can assure the Minister that I shall give him until the next Estimate comes round but if it comes to that time and what I am asking is not done, not alone will I criticise him here but I shall vote against his Estimate.

I hope that will be reported.

After Deputy Flanagan's adventures in Ballycotton, I think we should put him in the icebox there.

I put the iceplant there and you were looking for that for years.

I also want to know what the position is in regard to Youghal. Unfortunately, through the interference of a few ignorant officials in other Departments—I shall not go beyond that——

The Deputy should not refer to officials in that manner. They have no way of replying and he is taking advantage——

They have taken advantage of the people of Youghal.

The Minister is responsible for the actions of his officials.

Unfortunately, it is not this Department——

Then it is some other Minister.

Youghal Harbour Commissioners are in such a financial position that they were unable to pay the secretary's wages for the past seven years. There are well over 100 fishermen deriving a livelihood out of that harbour and they are seeking some protection for their boats. That protection is estimated to cost roughly £12,000. The Commissioners have no money, only debts, but we got the Youghal Urban District Council interested to the extent that they are prepared to put up portion of the money for this scheme. Officials of the Minister's Department and the Board of Works attended a meeting some months ago to discuss the matter and it appears the engineers want some further probing and poking done before they will do anything. That probing would cost £400 and the Minister, up to the present, has refused to find that money. I do not think £400 spent on finding out the exact position regarding the livelihood of over 100 fishermen is too much to ask.

I am aware of some vicious influences in Youghal in connection with this. I do not know how far they are influencing the Parliamentary Secretary but I intend to get them out in the open. When the local authority is prepared to pledge the ratepayers to find portion of the money towards this project, I consider that the Minister should be prepared to come forward with the balance and do a decent job. The money is not being spent on three or four boats or for a certain northern area of the country. The Minister is responsible for the fishing industry as a whole and for all the fishermen making a livelihood from it and not for any particular favoured spot. At this third asking, I hope that we shall get what we need. We had Deputy Bartley and we had Deputy Flanagan as Parliamentary Secretaries; now it is Deputy Lenihan and I expect that we shall get somewhere at the third asking.

You did not do too badly at the second asking.

We got the icebox.

It is better than nothing.

I do not know whether the Parliamentary Secretary has any figures in connection with that icebox but if he has, I am sure they would be very good reading if he gave them to the House. I hope he will give them in concluding. I hope that when Deputy Flanagan comes among us we shall give him a good meal of lobster despite the adventures he had with the famous lobster he met down there. I trust it did not do him any permanent harm.

I went lobster fishing myself and had a very pleasant time.

The fishing industry should be our principal industry next to agriculture. It is nothing like that and we are entitled to know from the Minister in charge of fisheries why that is the position. Various excuses have been given by various Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries in the past. I do not wish to delay the House. I am interested in only the two matters in my constituency. I admit we had a bit of messing around in the county council over one of them because of the interference of inland sailors who know nothing about fisheries and whom I have the misfortune to have as colleagues: they have a good opportunity of replying to me. They knew nothing of what they were talking about but wanted to get in on a good job. They did a bit of messing up and I am endeavouring to get it rectified. I expect a sane approach from the Parliamentary Secretary to the situation in Ballycotton where the present position is that it would be very difficult to get the lifeboat out of the harbour if there was lifesaving to be done.

I want these matters rectified within twelve months. That is notice enough to give any Minister or Parliamentary Secretary. I am here to represent my constituency and it is my job to look after it. I intend to do that and I do not give a hang whom I hurt.

It would appear from the proposals put before the House that there is a new outlook on our fishing industry or an attempt to bring about a new look in an industry that has reached a chaotic stage. This is very far from the break-through necessary to restore what was once a great industry here and bring it back to its former greatness. The proposals we have here would appear to be the result of a get-together of some officials under pressure by our young and dynamic Parliamentary Secretary, a man who came in charged with doing something to develop this industry. Unfortunately, he has a very difficult job before him.

It would appear to be a get-together of some kind by officials who have been living in the past in the mouldy and industry archives of the Department of which they were in charge. We have evidence of the potentialities of the fishing industry but, unfortunately, since the formation of this State the fishing industry seems to have gone down and down until it has now reached a new low. All around our coast, for instance, in my own constituency from Castleisland, Clahane, Ballydavid, Ballyferriter, Dunquin, the Blaskets, to Dingle, there are idle piers, places that at one time had 40 or 50 small fishing boats. Cahirciveen, Valencia Island, Portmagee, are all areas that thrived on fishing in the past when a foreign power controlled our country. The people in those days made a living out of fishing even though it was a hard living. In those days there were lucrative mackerel markets in various cities and towns of the United States. Due to modern techniques and modern marketing systems, those products were no longer allowed to appear on the American market and the fisheries section stood idly by and let that market slide past us. I suppose being a new State we were so busily engaged in trying to build up inside the shoreline the country that was handed over to us that interest did not extend beyond the shoreline, and a very profitable industry was allowed to decline.

One would have expected that at the end of the war years, say, 1947 or 1948, our fishery authorities would have built by sufficient knowledge, interest and marketing ability to get hold of some of that market but that has not been done. In recent times they seem to have turned to angling and to be ignoring the wealth that abounds around our coastlines. This industry is capable of absorbing and employing a vast number of people but a more dynamic approach is needed. Looking at the proposals in respect of the four biggest centres, I am reminded of a businessman putting up a colossal store premises before he has the business to work on. The proposals completely miss the opportunity of getting down to the smaller areas, the smaller piers where fishermen existed in other days and where some still exist. These are the people who should be put in production immediately because there the biggest possibility for production lies.

It is amazing to me that what I think is the biggest fishing centre of all, the area that has the greatest potential of all, Dingle, has been completely by-passed. There are no proposals to help out the industry in that area. There is a great need for the establishment of cold storage facilities and processing plants. There has been an increase in the early months of this year of fish landings. I think that is brought about by the subsidy that has been arranged for the transport of fishmeal. I have gone very closely into the position of the Dingle fishermen and it would appear that in the past when fish was plentiful it would not be worth their while going out again after the first day as there was no guarantee that their landings would be disposed of because fish was invariably plentiful from the other parts of the coast as well. All activities in the past were directed towards restricted fishing rather than helping out and getting increased landings. Dingle has always proved to be one of the biggest fish landing areas. It is established that the greatest amount of landings in any part of Ireland could be brought about if cold storage and processing plant facilities were provided and if extensions and improvements to the harbour were carried out. Portmagee is another place which needs development and more extensive harbour facilities.

The biggest drawback in the Dingle area would appear to be in regard to the boats with which the fishermen were supplied during the past nine or ten years. The type of engine used was not satisfactory and consequently the boats could not be operated successfully. Therefore, when good catches were available the boats were usually being repaired. Another important point is in regard to the different types of gear. Instead of having a standard type of winch, or other standard parts for the entire fleet which could be fitted quickly where necessary, there have been cases of people having to wait for weeks for the necessary part to come from England. This does not show forward thinking on the part of the officials concerned in the Fisheries Division who have £100,000 or £150,000 invested in equipment.

There should be proper control and proper standardisation of the vessels in which they have a big interest so that it would be possible to get people out to sea as quickly as possible again. All this must be gone into in order to get the people back to work. I know the modern idea is that they must have 120 h.p. engines. I see that under the scheme they can now get the necessary exchanges made. I hope nothing will be put in the way of the Dingle people getting their engines exchanged so that they can modernise their boats as quickly as possible.

Another point that was put to me rather strongly was that there now seems to be some new thinking within the Fisheries Branch that boats of 75 feet and upwards are the ideal. The Dingle people say they are not. From their point of view the ideal boat is the 50 to 56 foot boat. They have no interest in going further out to sea. They say there are plenty of fish within the confines of Dingle Bay and the ideal boat is the 50 to 56 foot boat. It is more manceuvrable along the rocky coast and of much greater benefit to them. They scoff at the idea that they should go further out to sea. They say that our fishery protection vessels are engaged in trying to stop the foreign trawlers coming inside the three mile limit, which proves that the fish are obviously inside and not outside the confines of the bay.

I think our Fisheries Branch need a shaking up. That is very essential if there are people in it who are old fashioned in their ideas and who are thinking in the past rather than towards the future. These people must be made aware of the vast potentialities of this industry. Nothing must be allowed to stand in the way of putting it on a proper basis, to make it as valuable to the country as any other branch of industry. In my experience of the Fisheries Branch I have always noticed a kind of holding back Counter proposals are put up if they do not approve of any suggestions that are made. They are not prepared to listen to the ideas of the people familiar with the fishing areas who have a vast experience and knowledge behind them.

One would have expected a training school to be established in the Dingle area. I know plenty of young lads who would be prepared to take the necessary courses in such a training centre simultaneously with gaining practical experience on the boats themselves in the Dingle area. They are loathe to travel to Galway for training. There is a doubt in their minds that the Fisheries Branch know what they are doing and, because of that, they are not taking to the schemes. They have yet to be convinced that the Fisheries Branch are sincere with regard to the future of the industry. If a school of training were established in the area numbers of Dingle youths would engage in training. If possible the Parliamentary Secretary should examine into the position and try to establish a training school in Dingle at an early date.

I produced evidence in this House earlier this year of the discrepancy in the price of fish landed at Dingle and fish landed at Galway and Killybegs. When the price in Dingle was 8/— either per box or per stone; I am not sure which—the price in Galway was 12/6 and the price in Killybegs was 15/-. That was for one day's landings. The fish were not taken on the second day, or on any subsequent days. They were not taken until the glut around the coast was cleared. The Dingle people seem to be at the mercy of the many wholesale interests in the country. People come down to buy the fish when it is at a very low price. It is transferred to cold storage in Dublin, and elsewhere, and sold later at remunerative prices to those who store it. That supports the case for the establishment of cold storage facilities in the Dingle area so that the fish can be held until the market is cleared.

I had an interesting experience coming up in the train to a meeting of the Dáil. I travelled with a wholesale merchant from Killarney. He was travelling to Dublin to make arrangements for a continuous supply of fish to the hotels in Killarney. I asked him why he did not buy fish in Dingle and he said he could only get it there at odd times. He happened to be on the train the following evening and he showed me four boxes of fish, labelled from Billingsgate, going down to Killarney. That is a truly desperate state of affairs. It is a black mark against the kind of thinking that permeates the Fisheries Branch. They are asleep to the interests of our people and the nation. They are completely devoid of a progressive outlook. They should be made to render an account as quickly as possible for the laxity that has pervailed down through the years, a laxity which allowed this industry to reach rockbottom.

I come now to a facet of the industry with which I am very familiar. I refer to the mussel industry in Castlemaine. Four years ago I went to a certain department to find out if a system of processing for export could be devised for these mussels. At that time the mussels were being exported in hundredweight bags and the ratio was two stone of fish to eight stones, the six stones being constituted of shells and water. The idea was that if the fish could be de-shelled and put into some kind of cans for transfer to the British market we would get a much better price, more local labour would be employed, and there would be a considerable saving on heavy transport charges accruing to the benefit of British railways and British shipping interests. I was told that the only way mussels could be de-shelled and sent out was in little glass jars, filled with preservative and five or six mussels. I said that was not my idea. I wanted a minimum quantity in cans. I was told that mussels would not take kindly to cans; the bottling process was a very fine trade in the British market and anybody bottling here would not be likely to get into that market. I accepted what I was told as fact.

About three months afterwards, an Englishman arrived in Killorglin. He got into contact with the bank manager there. He said he was interested in the de-shelling and processing of mussels, in getting them into cans and in sending them across to Britain for distribution to the bottling trade and to supply his own bottle trade as well. He wanted to try to get something done quickly.

We got premises for him. We got all the necessary material and we got him started. I asked him if he was quite sure that mussels could be put in cans. He laughed and said they were always put in cans. I asked him how long that had been going on and he said the Danes have been sending canned mussels to the British market in five-kilo cans for the past 18 years or so. He pointed out that the cans are lacquered and that therefore the mussels are not affected.

I am making the case that the Department said that mussels could not be put in cans. I do not know whether they made that statement deliberately or through lack of knowledge. They assured me they had plenty of representatives on the British side who knew the British trade. It is quite obvious that they never at any time saw the system of processing by which the Danes were enabled to get a firm foothold in this very valuable trade on the British market.

Is your lad still canning the mussels below?

Actually, that man has gone but we now have three plants there. I shall come to all that in a few minutes. The man of whom I have been speaking started a wrong system in regard to canning and the expense was rather more than the mussels would bear. The system of boiling the mussels was wrong. After about four months, he discovered he could not open up here. However, another man arrived in the following year and started on a new system. Now we have three plants in Killorglin for the processing of mussels. Unfortunately, only sufficient mussels were landed last year to keep one plant going to half its capacity. We have three plants fighting for a very limited supply of mussels.

Since my election to this House, I have approached the Department in an effort to get the necessary moneys for the transplanting of young mussels. In our region, we have vast quantities of sea mussels, which are young mussels. They cling together in heavy lots throughout certain parts of the bay and very large quantities of them are available for transplanting. They are so thick that they have to be removed from that bed because the amount of food available there is not sufficient to allow them to grow. They have to be scattered thinly in another part of the bay where they develop into full-grown mussels in a period of about two years.

I should like to give the House some figures. I think that to get a proper view of the picture, I should say at first that An Bord Iascaigh Mhara established a purification plant in Cromane about 30 years ago. At that time, the mussels were subjected to a system of purification and exported in bags. That system has now changed and the plant there has outlived its usefulness. The heavy charge involved in getting the mussels across to Britain did not allow anything for the fishermen afterwards. However, some small planting took place in those years but nothing worthwhile.

Last year, we put down what we estimate should give about 10,000 bags in 1963-64. This year, they put down £1,900 worth which should give an output of 35,000 bags in 1964-65. I have been pressing for the expenditure of a further £1,000 in this respect. I had hoped it would be expended in May. However, the finishing of the expenditure of the previous £900 went on into May and there would not be any hope of getting further planting done. The ideal planting months are August and September. They are two calm fine months and we should get a thousand pounds' worth of work done then. That would represent another 50,000 bags in 1964-65. That would mean, with what is planted, that we would have 85,000 bags.

From what we know below of the market, I maintain we could do with further development to the point of 100,000 bags a year.

For the domestic market? I thought the Deputy said that they would not bear the cost of export?

That is in the shell. A bag of mussels will produce close on 10/- to the fisherman. In other words, 100,000 bags of mussels a year would produce £50,000 worth to the fishermen and would give £50,000 more for wages and plant for the processing side of the industry. This is a very valuable industry. All we need from the figures which I have here, and as far as I can work them out, is a total of £5,900, that is, £1,900 this year, £2,000 next year and £2,000 in three years' time. I think we should then be able to get 100,000 bags. At a rate of sixpence—it could go up to 1s.—the price would be 10s. and that would go to replantings from there on. It is indeed a very valuable industry.

I find, again, that the Department, for some reason, are opposed to the further £1,000 planting in August and September. They have now gone on to a new idea which is operating somewhere on the Continent of putting some netting or wire across some part of the bay to collect the sprat, which is the young mussel, in its first year or two and so prevent it from being swept out to sea. I should be quite agreeable to their experimenting in any way they like over and above but it is necessary to get this £1,000. I shall come back to this House again if there is any further hold-up. I shall put down Question after Question until we get it.

By 1964-65, we want to reach a stage in this trade at which we can get a hold on the very lucrative market in Britain. Our Department allowed small mussels suitable for seed to be exported from this country to the British market for transplanting on the other side in an effort by the British to establish their own trade there. If we had developed this canning industry as it should have been developed five or even more years ago, all that would be stopped because once the mussels were in cans there would be no chance of replanting them on the other side. I think that is probably one of the reasons why the Danes always put their mussels in cans. They know there is no chance of their being transplanted then.

As I have said more than once, this is a very valuable industry. I am very anxious to see that this £1,000 will be spent in August and September next. If we wait, as they are now suggesting, until next year, we shall then be six months behind and, more important still, if we get a hard, rough month of March, and into the middle of April, as we do in many years, we shall have no chance of transplanting at all. Therefore, I desire to impress on the Parliamentary Secretary the necessity for getting this £1,000 spent in August and September. If we do, then I can assure him that, without further trouble, we shall get much more value for money than if we wait.

Progress reported; Committee to sit again.