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North Sea Drift Netting

Volume 592: debated on Thursday 30 July 1998

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asked Her Majesty's Government:To what extent has the North Sea drift netting practice been reduced during each of the past five years; and what further consideration is being given to banning such operations. [HL2992]

The number of net licences issued to salmon fishermen operating in the north-east coast drift net fishery during the past five years, together with the total number of days fished by licence holders, are as follows:

19931994199519961997
Number licenses124114998981
Number days fished5,1875,5055,3033,5813,200
Following recent ICES advice about the state of salmon stocks throughout the North Atlantic, the Government are urgently considering what action should be taken to reduce levels of exploitation of salmon in Great Britain, including possible restrictions on both rods and nets.

asked Her Majesty's Government:What is the estimated cost of compensation to buy out the North Sea drift net fishermen; and whether they have discussed such compensation with the fishermen. [HL2993]

No public funds are available to compensate fishermen holding salmon drift net licences for surrendering their licences, and the cost of any buy-out would be a matter for negotiation between interested parties and the licence holders. In these circumstances we have not discussed the question of compensation with licence holders or sought to establish the cost of a buy-out.