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Volume 957: debated on Thursday 9 November 1978

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asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many seals have been slaughtered in United Kingdom waters in each year since 1970.

England and WalesScotland
Grey seal (Halichoerus grypus)Common seal (Phoca vitulina)Grey seal (Halichoerus grypus)Common seal (Phoca vitulina)
No licence to kill grey seals off Northern Ireland has been issued in this period.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what estimates he has of the annual consumption of fish by seals within United Kingdom waters.

The following is the information requested as at 6th November 1978. The information corresponds to that given for 4th July 1978 and 3rd August 1978 in reply to similar Questions earlier this year.—[Vol. 953, c. 121–2; Vol. 955, c. 633–4.]

I have been asked to reply.Figures are recorded only for grey and common seals killed during the close season under licences issued under the Conservation of Seals Act 1970 or the Grey Seals Protection Act (Northern Ireland) 1933. These figures are:

I have been asked to reply.The scientific advice which I have been given by my Department is that grey seals and common seals in Scottish waters take some 195,000 tons of fish annually, of which about 130,000 tons is likely to comprise commercially exploited species. The estimated loss of potential catch in about half of this amount. No similar estimate has been made for grey seals and common seals in other waters of the United Kingdom.