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Sea Mammal Research Unit: Finance

Volume 475: debated on Monday 12 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what funding he provides to the Sea Mammal Research Unit (SMRU) at St. Andrews University; what proportion of the work carried out by the SMRU relates to whaling; and if he will make a statement. (203999)

Defra has committed £35,555 for the period 2008-09 for the research project entitled “Conservation of whales and the management of whaling”. The project is being taken forward by the Sea Mammal Research Unit (SMRU).

This project forms the basis for UK representation on the International Whaling Commission (IWC) Scientific Committee. Its overall aim is to provide independent scientific advice to Defra and the IWC, through its Scientific Committee, on matters related to the conservation of large and small cetacean populations and the management of whaling and other human-induced mortality, thus informing policy. The results are intended for Defra, the IWC and the wider scientific community.

The work which comprises this project will enable the scientific interests of the IWC to be pursued by: assisting the IWC Scientific Committee to provide the best possible advice to the Commission; providing scientific advice to Defra on IWC-related matters; summarising UK cetacean research in the annual National Progress Report to the IWC; and ensuring a high standard of publications in the IWC Journal of Cetacean Research and Management.