HC Deb 10 June 1998 vol 313 c582W
Mrs. Ray Michie

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what research he has(a) commissioned and (b) evaluated into stocks of monkfish and megrim; and if he will make a statement about the future of fisheries research funding. [44806]

Mr. Macdonald

The Government are committed to ensuring that the monkfish and megrim fisheries are exploited on a sustainable basis, and are therefore expanding their programme of scientific research in this particular area. The Fisheries Research Services (FRS) Marine Laboratory in Aberdeen routinely samples landings of monkfish and megrim into Scotland, and participates in the annual stock assessments undertaken by the Advisory Committee on Fishery Management (ACFM). In addition, the FRS is this year initiating a new biennial survey of deep-water species such as these in the West of Scotland; and is next year undertaking a dedicated monkfish and megrim survey. The FRS and Scottish Fishermens Federation (SFF) are also liaising on further data collection, and on a possible EU-funded research project on the distribution and exploitation of monkfish and megrim.

Overall the Government retain their commitment to the funding of fisheries research, as demonstrated by the introduction into service of the new research vessel Scotia.