§ Mr. Olner
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) if he intends to review the current maximum lengths of driftnets in respect of the finding of the recent report "Cetacean bycatch in the UK tuna driftnet fishery in 1995"; and what proposals he has to ban the use of driftnets; 
(2) what response he has made to the proposals for a ban on the use of driftnets from the European Parliament and the European Commission; and if he will make it his policy to support an EU-imposed ban on driftnetting; 
(3) what assessment he has made of the scientific evidence for a ban on high seas driftnets. 
§ Mr. Baldry
[pursuant to his answer, 16 April 1996, c. 464-65]: The current maximum length of driftnets permitted on UK and other Community fishing vessels is set at 2.5 km in line with the precautionary approach and in response to United Nations resolutions. I am not aware of scientific evidence that justifies a different maximum length or a ban on the use of drift nets. I do not therefore support the European Commission's proposal, but I do think that means should be sought to reduce by-catches of cetaceans in high seas driftnet fisheries.