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Fishing Vessels

Volume 470: debated on Wednesday 23 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) pursuant to the answer of 17 December 2007, Official Report, columns 997-98W, on fishing vessels, what plans he has to extend the deployment of observer schemes in 2008; (179798)

(2) if he will place in the Library details of specific numbers of on-board observer schemes deployed in 2007;

(3) what assessment he has made of the on-board observer scheme deployed in 2007.

At the December Fisheries Council, a number of additional optional observer schemes were agreed as part of the effort and quota management package. We will be assessing the viability of these schemes for the UK and will continue to discuss these with the industry to consider the level of interest there is in participation.

Observers from the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS) have already accompanied two trips by industry vessels this year as part of the fisheries science partnership and it is expected that more of these trips will take place during 2008.

I have asked officials to gather details of the numbers of observer schemes in which the UK participated during 2007. I will write to the hon. Member when these are available and arrange for a copy of my letter to be deposited in the Libraries of the House.

DEFRA officials are involved in ongoing discussions with the industry and other Government Departments, to draw conclusions from the observer schemes deployed in 2007. The results of these discussions will be deposited in the Libraries of the House later this year.