Mr. WEST RUSSELL
asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is aware that the plant known as phaeocystis has been found in the North Sea in considerable volume during the past six months; and what effect upon the herring fishery is expected from the presence on the herring spawning grounds of this plant?
§ Sir J. GILMOUR
The occurrence of phaeocystis in the North Sea is a normal annual event. Herring appear to avoid waters containing phaeocystis, and if large concentrations of the plant occur on or near the usual herring grounds the herring may be diverted from them. The main autumn crop of phaeocystis is likely to have disappeared before the principal spawning period, which falls in December and January and it is therefore improbable that spawning will be interfered with.