HC Deb 27 November 1985 vol 87 cc573-4W
Mr. Hardy

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what evidence he has that mergansers and goosanders cause serious damage to fishing.

Mr. John MacKay

The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for Scotland published a paper in 1962 in the freshwater and salmon fisheries research series entitled "The Goosander and Red-Breasted Merganser as Predators of Salmon in Scottish Waters". In this publication the effects of those species on Atlantic salmon in Scotland were assessed and it was concluded that these species are, in some circumstances, harmful to trout and young salmon in freshwater. In considering applications for licences to shoot these birds, my Department takes account of the evidence provided by applicants as to the extent of damage to the fisheries.

1984. Mr. Hardy

Mr. John MacKay

As required by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, my right hon. Friend consults the Nature Conservancy Council from time to time as to the circumstances in which licences should be granted to permit the shooting of goosanders and mergansers for the purpose of preventing serious damage to fisheries. The advice of the council is fully considered before policy decisions are taken.

The numbers of goosanders and mergansers reported shot in 1984 under licences granted by the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for Scotland were 514 and 516, respectively.

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