§ Mr. Buchanan-Smith
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the estimated cost of damage by seals to fish and fishing gear this year; and how this compares with previous years.
§ Mr. Ross
As regards cod net fishing, which ended early in the year, I cannot add to the answer which I gave the hon. Member on 4th March 1969, but the indications are that infestation of the fish on Scottish grounds by worms for which seals are the definitive host continues to increase. As regards commercial salmon fishing, a general assessment will not be possible until later in the year. The relative scarcity of salmon in the early part of the season may have lessened the total amount of damage done but information from individual netting stations suggests that seals have been unusually numerous and active in some localities and that the proportions of salmon damaged by seals have again been higher than in recent years.—[Vol. 779, c.89.]