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Sea Mammal Research Unit

Volume 475: debated on Monday 12 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what role the Sea Mammal Research Unit at St Andrews University plays in UK marine policy. (203998)

The Sea Mammal Research Unit (SMRU) is an independent research centre, and is used by Defra as a contractor to provide scientific research and monitoring. The unit is currently responsible for monitoring cetacean by-catch under the requirements of the EC Habitats Directive and Council Regulation 812/2004, and for developing mitigation measures to reduce the by-catch of marine mammals.

SMRU is also a member of the Healthy and Biologically Diverse Seas Evidence Group, one of the groups falling under the umbrella of the UK Marine Monitoring and Assessment Strategy. Defra is committed to evidence-based policy development, and therefore scientific evidence and information derived from monitoring initiatives such as this plays an important role.