HL Deb 23 March 2000 vol 611 cc39-40WA
Lord Inglewood

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What financial and other steps are being taken to assist all those fishermen in the northern Irish Sea whose livelihoods are being affected by the European Community's decision to prohibit most methods of fishing in much of that area between 14 February and May 2000. [HL1512]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Baroness Hayman)

The closure of the Irish Sea during the cod spawning season is designed to promote the recovery of the stock which is currently in a very poor state. Shrimp fishing is not affected by the closure. Fishing for nephrops may also continue in designated parts of the closed area.

Compensation will not be paid to fishermen whose activities are curtailed as a result of the closed area. The Government do not believe that it is appropriate to compensate fishermen for a decline in stocks or for conservation measures designed to improve stocks and hence fishing opportunities in the future.

Fishermen unable to work in the nephrops and shrimp fisheries or in other fisheries outside the closed area may well be entitled to claim job seekers allowance and other benefits.