HL Deb 29 July 2002 vol 638 cc134-5WA
Lord Morris of Manchester

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What estimate they have made of the extent of ecological damage to fishing grounds historically in British waters from "fishing out" by European Union-subsidised fishing fleets; and what co-operation there has been between Spain and the United Kingdom in addressing its consequences. [HL5574]

Lord Whitty

The ICES Advisory Committee on Ecosystems monitors the ecosystem effects of fishing activities, including the impact of fishing on the wider marine environment. UK and Spanish scientists contribute to the work of this committee. However, the committee's work to date has made no distinction between the impact of fleets receiving subsidies and those that do not. The one stock that could be described as "fished out" in historic British waters is herring. This took place before the introduction of the common fisheries policy(CFP). The stock has since improved under it.

The CFP is the means by which fisheries are managed in the European Union and the UK is keen for progress to be made through the present reform of the CFP on the removal of counter-productive fleet subsidies and the greater integration of environmental concerns in fishing policy. This will require measures to address the adverse effects of fishing on marine habitats. Progress in these areas will depend on co-operation between all member states.