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Seals (Cull)

Volume 957: debated on Thursday 9 November 1978

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asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many frogmen were involved in the underwater survey of the Norwegian ship, " Kvitungen ", before his announcement of the reduction in the cull of grey seals.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what reduction on the annual fish catch he expects as a result of the abandonment of the planned seal cull off Northern Scotland.

This year's cull was not abandoned but modified to a cull of seal pups. The Secretary of State is not in a position to quantify the effect on fish catches at this stage but it is likely that the continuing rise in the seal population will have an increasingly damaging effect on fish stocks.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what considerations will be taken into account before deciding on the size of the seal cull in 1979.

The Secretary of State has made available to a wide range of conservation and other organisations, as well as to the fishermen's organisations and the Islands councils concerned, copies of the scientific papers on which the advice given to him was based. He has invited comments and has undertaken to consider carefully any evidence which any organisations may wish to put to him before deciding on the size of next year's cull.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) what proportion of the contract for the cull of seals off Northern Scotland has already been paid; what sum still has to be paid; and what saving has been made as a result of the Government's decision to reduce the cull;(2) what is the cost to public funds of the limited seal cull off the Orkneys; and what was the estimated cost of the original planned cull which was called off.

Apart from the cost of my Department's staff and of that of the other Government bodies involved in a supervisory capacity, the main cost was for the services of a Norwegian contractor. The contract provided for payment on a daily rate subject to adjustments in certain circumstances. Details of the contract are a matter of commercial confidence.A claim has been received from the contractor but no payment has yet been made. The final cost will be contained within the provision of £25,500 included in my Department's Vote for expenditure in connection with seals this year.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many letters from members of the public he has received concerning the slaughter of grey seals in Northern Scotland; and how many of them were in favour of restriction on the cull.

The Secretary of State received a total of 2,787 letters from members of the public; all but seven were against the cull.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what representations he has received on the slaughter of grey seals in Northern Scotland from members of the fishing industry.

The Secretary of State received representations from the Scottish fishermen's federation and the British fishermen's federation strongly supporting the cull, and the Orkney fishermen's association recently protested about the reduction of this year's cull.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what meetings he has had with representatives of the Green-peace organisation concerning the size of the cull of grey seals off Northern Scotland.

My officials met representatives of the Greenpeace organisation at their request on 3rd October to discuss their objections to the proposed cull.