HL Deb 28 July 1986 vol 479 cc712-4WA
Lord Moran

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Why none of the measures to restrict drift netting for salmon off the north-east coast of England announced on 7th November 1985 (H.L. Deb., col. 129) have yet been brought into force, despite their then declared intention that they should be introduced as soon as possible, and should indeed be in place during the current season (H.L. Deb., 1lth June, col. 259), and whether they will ensure that these measures will all be in force at latest by the beginning of the 1987 season.

The Minister of State, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Lord Belstead)

It remains our intention to introduce these measures as soon as possible. The speed of their introduction is, however, constrained by statutory procedures which must be observed, in particular that proper consideration is given to objections raised by those affected.

The measure to restrict the use of licensed nets by servants or agents of the licence holder is contained in Clause 35 of the Salmon Bill and will take effect when the Bill comes into force. The measures restricting drift netting at night and standardising the weekend close times will be introduced by water authority by-laws. The boards of both the Northumbrian Water Authority and the Yorkshire Water Authority have approved by-laws giving effect to these measures within their respective areas. The Yorkshire Water Authority made its by-laws on 18th July and the Northumbrian Water Authority will make its by-laws shortly.

Two measures are designed to change the balance of fishing from drift nets to fixed nets. Of these, our announcement of the order to permit the use of T nets in the southern part of the Northumbrian Water Authority area has been published and has attracted a number of objections. We must deal with these in accordance with statute. The other measure is the order which will progressively reduce the number of drift net licences in the Yorkshire Water Authority area from 29 to 22, with a corresponding increase in the number of fixed net licences. We are discussing the terms of this order with the authority.

The Government will, with the active co-operation of the authorities, endeavour to ensure that the statutory procedures are completed in time for all the measures to be in force by the start of the 1987 season.