HC Deb 09 July 1990 vol 176 c22W
Mr. Hardy

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will ensure that investigations are carried out to establish the causes of death of whales washed up on the British coast.

Mr. Trippier

[holding answer 6 July 1990]: I am pleased to announce that the Department of the Environment is commissioning three new research projects which will focus primarily on dolphins and porpoises but will extend as appropriate to other species in the cetacean or whale group. The first project establishes a co-ordinator based at London Zoo to oversee a systematic collection of samples from strandings and to arrange post mortems on appropriate animals. This project will apply to English and Welsh coasts and separate arrangements are being made to establish a similar system in Scotland.

A second contract, co-ordinated by the sea mammal research unit of the Natural Environment Research Council and also involving the British museum of natural history will cover the cost of tissue analysis, particularly for contaminants. A third project, with the United Kingdom Mammal Society, will update and improve information from sightings surveys.

The Department of the Environment is contributing £180,000 to the cost of these projects with additional contributions from the Welsh Office, the Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Food, the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for Scotland and the Welsh region of the National Rivers Authority.

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