Skip to main content


Volume 406: debated on Wednesday 11 June 2003

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether recent trials of separator grids to reduce cetacean deaths will be replicated next year during the peak of the bass fishing season. [117195]

The preliminary results of the recent trial of separator grids to reduce cetacean bycatch in the offshore bass fishery demonstrated that a viable means of minimising dolphin bycatch in this fishery can be attained very soon. A fuller analysis of the data from the trial is now being undertaken which will be made available on the Defra website and placed in the House of Commons library. On the basis of these results I am determined to move forward from trialling the separator grid to deploying the gear in the fishery. I will be discussing how this can be achieved with the industry and our researchers, the Sea Mammal Research Unit, and whether other adaptations to the fishing gear, such as changes to fishing methods, could also contribute to bycatch reduction.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps the British Government has taken to persuade the US to stop military sonar testing which may harm or kill dolphins and whales. [115346]

The Government takes its environmental responsibilities very seriously. Research on this issue has, therefore, been set in hand and is continuing. Military sonar testing by the US is a matter for them. However, we do exchange information with other countries (the US in particular) so that we have the best possible understanding of the effects of noise on marine mammals, and how we might employ sonar so as to minimise the risk of harm.