HC Deb 30 April 1991 vol 190 cc159-60W
Mr. Dalyell

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on the results of his monitoring of the sand-eel situation in Scottish waters.

Mr. Michael Forsyth

[holding answer 29 April 1991]: The Scottish Office announced on 6 March that the sand-eel fishery in waters around Shetland would remain closed until spawning stock levels recover. This followed receipt of scientific advice that the downward trend in spawning stock levels had continued and that recruitment continued to be poor. The scientific advice on the fishery in the west of Scotland indicates that the stock is in a reasonable condition but that significant diversion of effort into the fishery would be undesirable. A consultation paper was therefore issued on 16 April proposing that effort limitation arrangements similar to those in force in 1990 should apply this year. Comments on the paper have been sought by 1 May and it is hoped that a final announcement on the management arrangements can be made shortly after that date.