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Japanese Seaweed

Volume 884: debated on Wednesday 22 January 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is his latest estimate of the increase in the spread of Japanese seaweed (Sargassum Muticum) along the South Coast of England; what threat this increase constitutes to commercial fishing, industrial cooling water supplies, recreational facilities, shipping and navigation, and the conservation of the traditional ecology of the coastline, respectively; and what measures he is proposing to take, in conjunction with local and harbour authorities, to reduce the danger of a rapid spread of Japanese seaweed in the summer of 1975.

I am informed that Japanese seaweed has now established itself between Chichester and Beaulieu on the mainland coast and between Cowes and Shanklin off the Isle of Wight. I have no evidence at present that it poses a serious threat to any of the activities mentioned by the hon. Member, and clearance is essentially a matter for the local authorities concerned. However, my Department has already asked all coastal authorities to keep a watch for the weed, and I am considering the need for a co-ordinated programme of surveillance and for further research into methods of control.