§ Mr. David Price
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is his latest estimate of the increase in the spread of Japanese seaweed (Sargassum Muticum) along the South Coast of England; what threat this increase constitutes to commercial fishing, industrial cooling water supplies, recreational facilities, shipping and navigation, and the conservation of the traditional ecology of the coastline, respectively; and what measures he is proposing to take, in conjunction with local and harbour authorities, to reduce the danger of a rapid spread of Japanese seaweed in the summer of 1975.
§ Mr. Denis Howell
I am informed that Japanese seaweed has now established itself between Chichester and Beaulieu on the mainland coast and between Cowes and Shanklin off the Isle of Wight. I have no evidence at present that it poses a serious threat to any of the activities mentioned by the hon. Member, and clearance is essentially a matter for the local authorities concerned. However, my Department has already asked all coastal authorities to keep a watch for the weed, and I am considering the need for a co-ordinated programme of surveillance and for further research into methods of control.