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Volume 976: debated on Tuesday 20 November 1979

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asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what latest monthly figures he has, over a 12-month period, for catches by British vessels in Faroese waters and of catches by Faroese vessels in British waters, respectively; and if he will make a statement.

The most recent full year for which figures are available is 1978 when, under an EEC-Faroes reciprocal agreement, United Kingdom vessels caught 7,017 tonnes of demersel species and 5,740 tonnes of blue whiting in Faroese waters. During the same period Faroese vessels took fish from Greenland waters and from the Skagerrak, and also the following quantities from member States' waters in the North Sea and West of Britain:

35,700 tonnes of mackerel and sprat
57,500 tonnes of Norway pout, sandeel, and blue whiting
1,500 tonnes of demersal species.
I regret that separate figures for catches within the British 200-mile fishery limits are not available.I am aware that British fishermen have faced difficulties in maintaining a viable presence in Faroese waters this year. The Government will look closely at the balance of advantage in any provisional deal negotiated by the EEC Commission for fishing rights in 1980.