§ Mr. Coulson
asked the Minister of Agriculture Fisheries and Food whether he is aware of the growing damage caused by seals to fishing activities off the east coast of Yorkshire; what action he intends to take to minimise this damage; and if he will make a statement.
From the reports which I have received, most of the damage to fishery interests off the Yorkshire coast is by the common seal. This species is not protected and there is, therefore,146W nothing to prevent fishermen taking action in their own protection.
I am also aware of complaints of damage by grey seals which are a protected species but my right hon. Friend is waiting for a report from the Nature Conservancy before considering what action could be taken.