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Fisheries: Inspections

Volume 473: debated on Friday 14 March 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) how many joint inspections carried out with HM Revenue and Customs in relation to the enforcement of fishery protection there were in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement; (193145)

(2) how many infringements were recorded as a result of fisheries inspections in each year since 1997; how many infringements (a) were minor and required no follow-up action and (b) required follow-up action; and if he will make a statement;

(3) how many inspection reports in relation to fisheries were completed in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement.

This information is not readily available and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will make a statement on the performance of inspections carried out in relation to the enforcement of fishery protection. (193146)

The measurement of the performance of inspections carried out in relation to the enforcement of fishery protection is a complex issue.

Comparisons of the number of inspections carried out per year, or the number of inspections per patrol vessel per day are simple performance indicators which give a very broad overview but give no indication of the numerous factors which may have affected that performance and no meaningful measurement of effectiveness.

In the last three years the Marine and Fisheries Agency has moved to a more targeted risk-based system of inspection, taking account of fisheries under pressure, quota restrictions, previous offending, and other such factors.

The Marine and Fisheries Agency are currently in the process of developing methods to strengthen the gathering and use of intelligence and more accurately assess the effectiveness of inspection activity.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many inspectors monitoring landings in the fishing industry there were in each year since 1997; in which landing places they were operational; and if he will make a statement. (193201)

Information on the numbers of fisheries inspectors is provided in the Annual Reports on Monitoring the Application of the Common Fisheries Policy submitted by the United Kingdom pursuant to Article 35 of Council Regulation (EEC) No. 2847/93. Copies of these reports will be placed in the House Library. Copies of the report for 1997 are not available and the 2007 report has not been completed yet.

The locations of fisheries inspectors have been adjusted slightly over the period since 1997 in order to ensure that the inspectors are located most effectively, as the activity at some landing ports has declined and others have increased. Inspectors are located in such a way that all landing places within England and Wales can be monitored.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the likely effect of changes to the budget of the Marine and Fisheries Agency for 2008-09 on the number of landings inspectors; and if he will make a statement. (193203)

The budget agreed with the Marine and Fisheries Agency for 2008-09 should have no implications on the number of landings inspectors employed by the Marine and Fisheries Agency.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many fisheries inspectors have access to VMS data and the MCSS database; which other staff have such access; and if he will make a statement. (193204)

All Marine and Fisheries Agency inspectors and operational focused administration staff have access to VMS—vessel monitoring system—data and the MCSS database as appropriate and in accordance with operational requirements.