§ Mr. Mason
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what regulations are in force to control the introduction and use of grass carp; whether grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idellus), have been subject to his scientific department's attention before being released into British waters; if he will list the waters in which they have been introduced; and if he will make statement.
§ Mr. Macgregor
[pursuant to his reply, 23 April, c. 387]: For some 16 years, from 1964, my directorate of fisheries research were involved in research into the potential use of grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idellus) for weed control purposes. This work is now completed.
Under section 30 of the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act 1975, it is an offence to introduce any fish or spawn of fish into an inland water in England and Wales unless consent has been obtained first from the water authority within whose area the water is situated; this applies to grass carp as much as to any other species.
Under section 14 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, the release into the wild of grass carp—it is not ordinarily resident in and is not a regular visitor to Great Britain in a wild state — is prohibited except under licence. I and my right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for Scotland and Wales are responsible for the issue of such licences for grass carp. Before we issue a licence we are required to consult the Nature Conservancy Council which acts as our statutory adviser; to date, the only purpose for which such licences have been issued is weed control, and in every case the issue has been in accordance with the criteria specified by the Nature Conservancy Council.
Licences for the release of grass carp into the wild have been issued under the 1981 Act as follows:
Location Number of Licences ENGLAND Bedfordshire 1 Berkshire 1 Buckinghamshire 2 Dorset 2 Gloucestershire 2 Greater Manchester 2 Hampshire 1 Herefordshire 1 Hertfordshire 1 Humberside 2 Kent 1 Lincolnshire 4 Merseyside 4 Norfolk 1 Northamptonshire 1 North Yorkshire 2 Oxfordshire 1 Surrey 1 West Midlands 1 Worcestershire 2 WALES Clwyd 1 Gwent 1 South Glamorgan 1 West Glamorgan 1
Location Number of Licences SCOTLAND Banffshire 1
Records are not maintained centrally of releases made before the provisions of the Wildlife and Countryside Act came into operation.