§ Mr. Malcolm Bruce
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will raise the question of nylon monofilament nets and their effects on the populations of dolphins, porpoises and other cetaceans with other European Environment ministers; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Heathcoat-Amory
Measures to enable better protection of cetacean populations are among the topics being discussed in preparation for the third north sea conference in March 1990. Better information on interaction between fishing activity and cetaceans is one of the research needs identified, but I understand that there is no evidence at present to suggest that the use of monofilament fishing nets is posing a significant problem for cetacean populations in United Kingdom waters. The European Community is already pursuing a co-ordinated approach to the subject of pelagic drift netting on the high seas which has given rise to great concern.