HC Deb 15 April 1991 vol 189 cc122-3W
Mr. Dalyell

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what consideration he is giving to the problems of eider duck and golden-eye duck devouring substantial quantities of young mussels and other products on fish and shellfish farms.

Mr. Michael Forsyth

Consumption of young shellfish by eider ducks or golden-eye ducks is known to occur at some shellfish farms. Licences can be issued by my right hon. Friend, under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, to shoot protected birds where that is necessary to prevent serious damage. So far no application for a licence to shoot these or other species of protected bird has been made in respect of a marine shellfish or fish farm.

Advice on non-lethal methods of deterring predation by these ducks at shellfish farms is being prepared by the Nature Conservancy Council for Scotland in conjuction with the Association of Shelfish Growers and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. This advice will take account of the findings on such predation carried out by Aberdeen university department of zoology and commissioned by the HIDB and the Scottish Office.