HC Deb 12 June 1986 vol 99 c283W
40. Mr. Wallace

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when he last discussed the proposed increase in net mesh sizes with other European Economic Community Fisheries Ministers; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Gummer

The Council of Fisheries Ministers last discussed the question of increased mesh sizes in the North sea on 24 May 1984 when it was agreed further to postpone the increase in the whitefish mesh size to 90 mm until 1 January 1987. Decisions on possible derogations for certain species were to be taken by 31 December 1985. The Council decided on 20 December to extend this deadline to 31 March 1986, but unfortunately it was not possible to reach decisions on the matter by that date. The Council will be discussing the question of possible derogations from the 90 mm whitefish mesh size in the North sea, along with proposals for mesh size increases in the Irish sea and to the west of Scotland, when it meets on 25 June. Our aim will be to reconcile as far as possible the needs of the fishermen concerned with the overriding priority of ensuring the improved conservation of the stocks.