asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what estimate he has made on the likely reduction in lobster catch rates which would result from an increase in the minimum landing size from 80 to 85 mm ; and whether he plans to make such an increase.
Scientists of my Department estimate that such an increase would result, in England and Wales, in average losses in catch by weight of about 15 per cent. in the first year and 5 per cent. in the second year. Gains in catches are expected in the third and subsequent years. I am considering the need for further measures to protect lobster stocks.