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Mauve Stingers

Volume 472: debated on Tuesday 4 March 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps he is taking to protect fisheries and the UK aquaculture sector from mauve stingers; and if he will make a statement. (188415)

Last year, the mauve stinger jellyfish Pelagia nocticula engulfed the cages of a private company's sites in Glenarm Bay and Red Bay, Northern Ireland. Some 260,000 salmon were destroyed.

Jellyfish blooms are not rare, although there is little science on Pelagia nocticula, an oceanic species widely distributed in warm and temperate waters. Losses through jellyfish on this scale are not unknown in the industry and there are current reports of similar incidents in both the Republic of Ireland and Scotland.

Aquaculturists on marine sites have to recognise that they are operating in a highly mobile environment and that it is impossible to protect their operations against every conceivable risk of invasion by unwanted species. I see no case for Government assuming this risk.