§ Lord Melchett
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether the Natural Environment Research Council's special committee on seals has been involved in reviewing the research funded by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and being conducted by Hull University, aimed at investigating the scale and cost of seal predation in the fixed net fishery off the north-east coast of England.
§ The Minister of State, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Lord Belstead)
The basis and the terms of reference for the work being undertaken by Hull University were determined in the light of discussions between scientists from the Ministry of1474WA Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for Scotland and NERC's Sea Mammal Research Unit (SMRU), which took place before the establishment of the NERC special committee in 1986. The research is being conducted in two stages; the first concerning the interaction between seals and the fixed net whitefish fishery on the northeast coast has been completed and the results will be made available to NERC. The second stage of the predation survey focusing on the salmon fishery will start later this year at the beginning of the netting season.