HL Deb 17 May 1994 vol 555 cc4-5WA
The Earl of Kimberley

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What they intend to do to stop Denmark's unregulated fishing, from Caithness to Dogger Bank, of about 1.5 million tonnes of sand eels for use in margarine and animal food.

The Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Earl Howe)

The Danish sandeel fishery is regulated by the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) in respect of the type of fishing gear which may be deployed, and by the requirement that not more than 10 per cent. of protected species may be taken as a by-catch. The UK Fisheries Inspectorates regularly board Danish vessels to ensure that the rules are adhered to. In addition, Denmark operates an industrial catch sampling programme and is also co-operating with the Commission in a wide-ranging analysis of industrial fishing.

Nonetheless, the United Kingdom continues to believe that more information is needed about the effect that industrial fishing might be having on the marine eco-system. At the December 1993 Fisheries Council, largely at the insistence of my honourable friend the Minister of State at the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, the Commission agreed to establish a working group, composed of marine ecologists and fisheries biologists, to study the implications for the marine eco-system of fishing in general and of industrial fishing in particular. The group is to meet this month.