HC Deb 12 March 1980 vol 980 cc558-9W
Mr. Hicks

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what further measures the Government are taking to meet the need to protect the Western mackerel stocks.

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

The Government have decided to introduce a fisheries conservation measure designed to protect the smaller fish in this stock. The measure, which will come into force on 17 March, will prohibit until 15 November this year the use by vessels from any country while fishing for mackerel of trawls with a mesh size smaller than 70 mm, and of purse seines, in an area of about 4,000 square nautical miles off South-West Cornwall. This follows the advice of international scientists who have recommended that such a measure would reduce catches of immature mackerel and increase the long term yield from the entire western stock which includes the Minch fishery off Scotland. It will, therefore, reinforce what we are already doing to protect this important stock. Hand-line fishermen will not be affected.

This measure has been notified to the European Commission and we have been informed that it will be approved.