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Cetaceans

Volume 165: debated on Wednesday 17 January 1990

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To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make it his policy to require drift nets to be equipped with miniature electronic devices to help protect cetacean populations.

We have no evidence that drift nets cause a threat to cetacean populations in our waters. Nevertheless the Fisheries Departments are planning a general monitoring scheme on the incidental capture of cetaceans in United Kingdom fisheries, so that we can keep the matter under closer review.

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on the occurrence of ghost nets in fishing waters around Britain and their implications for populations of cetaceans.

We do not keep records of the numbers of nets lost at sea. Our scientific advice is that floating nets lost soon sink and—like bottom-set nets which are lost —quickly become entangled on the sea bed. We have no evidence that such nets have any implications for the incidental capture of cetaceans or thus for their populations.