asked the Secretary of State for Scotland why it is impracticable for him to consult the Nature Conservancy Council before issuing licences to kill cormorants.
Mr. John MacKay
As required by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, my right hon. Friend consults the NCC as to the circumstances in which, in the opinion of the council, licences should be granted for shooting cormorants for the purpose of preventing serious damage to fisheries. As I indicated to the hon. Member on 25 April, cormorants are a problem to the valuable salmon and trout fisheries generally in Scottish inland waters. No useful purpose would be served by consulting the NCC about individual applications for licences, which generally related to extensive stretches of open water.