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Fisheries: Shellfish

Volume 475: debated on Wednesday 14 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what estimate he has made of changes in the (a) capacity of and (b) catch taken by non-UK fishing vessels with historical practice access to UK waters within the 12 mile limit and which target crabs and lobster since 1997; and whether the same minimum landing sizes of crabs apply to vessels from other EU member states and UK vessels when fishing in those waters; (204855)

(2) what data his Department receives on catches by fishing vessels from other EU member states within the six to 12 mile band of UK waters.

DEFRA does not hold data on changes in capacity and catches by foreign vessels within the 12 mile limit. Minimum landing sizes, as set out in EU legislation, must by complied with by all EU-flagged vessels.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what shellfish stock assessment measures there are in respect of the six to 12 mile band of UK waters for the purpose of enabling accreditation schemes to demonstrate sustainability. (204857)

There is a range of stock assessment measures in place for shellfish at regional, national and EU levels, but there are no national or EU measures which explicitly relate only to the six to 12 mile zone. Sea Fisheries Committees (SFC) have introduced, or are in the process of introducing, a number of measures for the explicit purpose of gaining Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) accreditation, for instance South Wales SFC’s management of the Burry Inlet cockle fishery, and North East Sea Fisheries Committee’s (NESFC) attempt to gain accreditation for the local lobster fishery. These SFC measures, however, apply out to six miles only.

While none of the aforementioned measures has been introduced specifically for the purpose of enabling accreditation schemes to demonstrate sustainability, such measures are seen as an integral part of any shellfish management plan which would be a pre-requisite for gaining accreditation.