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Suction Dredgers

Volume 174: debated on Monday 18 June 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what representations he has received about the fishing operation of suction dredgers in Strangford lough.

Representations have been received from the National Trust and Queen's university, marine biology station, Portaferry about the presence of a suction dredger in Strangford lough. The Department of Agriculture was approached informally by a number of individuals and organisations including representatives of the fishing industry about this vessel.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what action will be taken to prevent suction fishing dredgers from operating within inland waters.

I was appalled by reports that a suction dredger may have entered Strangford lough.I am determined that there will not be fishing in the lough that would be damaging to its ecology.The people most at risk from fishing which damages the lough are those in the fishing industry. I am glad that the vast majority of trawlermen agree that damaging the lough is wrong.The responsibilities of the Department of Environment and the Department of Agriculture will be carried out so that all the interests of the lough, both in the short term and in the long term, are protected.