asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will take steps to encourage closer working relationships between the fishing and marine dredging industries.
The marine Section of the Sand and Gravel Association has been actively involved with my Department in the production of a voluntary code of practice to improve liaison at local level between fishermen and dredging companies. The code is being launched today and will come into operation on 1 January 1982. Under the code companies which are members of the association have undertaken to provide advance information wherever possible about planned dredging operations. They in turn will be given details of any fishing activity in the locality. The Association of Sea Fisheries Committees, which has been involved in drafting the code, has agreed that individual Sea Fisheries Committees will act as local points of contact between the two industries in England and Wales.My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland has agreed that comparable arrangements will apply to Scotland.I warmly welcome this important initiative which, I believe, can provide a valuable basis for the two industries to work more closely together and to understand each other's problems.A copy of the code is being placed in the Library of the House.