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Salmonid Farming

Volume 124: debated on Wednesday 9 December 1987

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To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will outline the range and type of resources directed by his Department to the research into anti-predator devices and measures in the marine salmonid farming industry.

Part of the time of four scientists at the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for Scotland's marine laboratory is currently allocated to this work. Three years ago these resources were estimated to amount to three quarters of a man year and at present the effort is in the region of one man year.

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will outline the resources devoted by his Department to research programmes which examine the effects of predators on the transmission of diseases at marine salmonid farming sites.

The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for Scotland is not at present undertaking any such research projects.

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he is in a position to estimate the financial loss incurred by the marine salmonid in each of the past five years farming due to bird and seal predation.

The most recent estimate of damage by seals showed that in the 12 month period to July 1985 damage amounting to some £170,000 to £250,000 was caused. The estimate was prepared on the basis of returns made to a questionnaire issued in 1985 to the salmon industry. No corresponding estimate of financial loss due to bird predation is available.

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will outline departmental responsibility, within his Department, for the provision of advice and research into the effects of predators in marine salmonid farms.

The marine laboratory of the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for Scotland is charged with the responsibility for providing advice on and research into the effects of predators in marine salmonid farms.

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many licences under section 10(1)(c)(i) of the Conservation of Seals Act 1970 were granted to marine salmonid farmers in each of the past four years; and how many common and grey seals were killed under these licences for each of the past four years.

The information is as follows:

Licences grantedNumber reported killed under licence
1984
Common seals24
Grey seals
1985
Common seals103
Grey seals143
1986
Common seals810
Grey seals73
1987
Common seals173
Grey seals1192
1 To date.
2 Figures not yet available.

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how large the salmon farming industry in Scotland (a) was three years ago and (b) is at present.

The industry has increased from 129 sites in 1984 (comprising 46 freshwater sites and 83 saltwater sites) with a total production of 3,912 tonnes, to 307 sites at present (comprising 108 freshwater sites and 199 seawater sites). The forecast production for 1987 is around 16,000 tonnes. Manpower in the industry was 515 full-time (128 part-time) in 1984 and 733 full-time (206 part-time) in 1986. Figures for 1987 are not yet available.

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what resources his Department (a) provided three years ago and (b) provides at present by way of advice and training to those engaged in the salmon farming industry.

The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for Scotland's marine laboratory has in hand a programme of research aimed at the development of acoustic devices to scare seals from marine salmon farms. It is understood that the fish farming industry is undertaking on-site evaluation of the effectiveness of several prototype devices.