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Fishing Fleet

Mr. Alan Campbell: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what progress has been made towards meeting EU targets for reducing fishing fleet over-capacity. [145578]

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Mr. Morley: A report by the European Commission dated 21 November 2000, COM (2000) 738, which is available in the Libraries of the House, gives the latest results of the multi-annual guidance programmes for the fishing fleets of member states. The UK is on course to meet its targets at the end of 2001.

Fish Stock Conservation

Mr. Andrew George: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what assessment he has made of the likely cost of implementing a stock recovery and vessel lay-up programme as proposed by the World Wildlife Fund for Nature report 'Choose or Lose'. [146269]

Mr. Morley: We have not attempted to estimate the cost of implementing the proposals for stock recovery and vessel lay-up programmes in this report. In close consultation with the industry, we are making important progress in the EU in the development of stock recovery plans for cod and Northern hake.

Flag of Convenience Vessels

Mr. Andrew George: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what recent estimate he has made of the anticipated costs of meeting the claims arising from the ruling over the Factortame case brought by owners of flag of convenience vessels. [146272]

Mr. Morley: Thirteen claims brought by the owners of fishing vessels unlawfully removed from the UK Register in 1989 were settled for £10 million during the first half of 2000. Claims from the remaining vessel owners and their managing agents are in the process of settlement and an announcement about the overall cost will be made once all the claims have been dealt with.

Cod and Haddock

Mr. Gill: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what the permitted tonnage of cod and haddock catches was in (a) 1971 and (b) 2000. [146639]

Mr. Morley: (a) In 1971 there were no restrictions on quantity of cod and haddock which could be caught. However, the total catch for cod in 1971 was 296,000 tonnes and for haddock 176,000 tonnes.

(b) The information on the permitted tonnage of cod and haddock catches in 2000 was 49,956 tonnes for cod and 70,791 tonnes for haddock.

Farrowing Systems

Mr. Ian Stewart: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on the progress of the Government-funded research into the development and testing of commercially viable farrowing systems which do not closely confine the sow. [146865]

Mr. Morley: We have, for a number of years, funded research directly or indirectly related to the welfare of the sow and her piglets, from farrowing to weaning. A key issue emerging is that changes in farrowing systems to improve sow welfare can frequently have an adverse

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effect on the welfare of the piglets. As a result, we are not yet able unreservedly to recommend free-farrowing systems for widespread commercial adoption.

Our research, and that of others, continues. Our aim is to reach a position where it is possible to avoid the close confinement of all sows.

Inshore Fisheries

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) if he will make a statement on the condition of inshore fisheries; [146607]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 23 January 2001]: The Government remain firmly committed to achieving more sustainable fisheries management and continue to encourage the European Commission to take greater account of environmental considerations in the management of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). Improved integration of environmental objectives and the development of the precautionary approach within fisheries management is a UK priority for the 2002 review of the CFP. This should help to further the sustainable management of fish stocks at Community level.

We are also continuing to pursue a range of measures designed to improve the state of fish stocks around our coasts. These include limitations on the quantities of fish that may be taken and the use of closed areas in which fishing is prohibited or severely restricted, in order to protect juvenile or spawning stocks. Since 1 January 2000, improved conservation measures have applied throughout the EU. These set more relevant minimum landing sizes for the key commercial fish species, enhance gear selectivity and simplify the catch composition rules. Together this should help to reduce discarding.

Under the CFP there is no access for foreign vessels within six miles of EU member states coastlines. Within the 6-12 mile zone, access for foreign vessels is restricted on the basis of historical access rights. The 6 and 12 mile access restrictions operate by derogation from the principle of free access to a Community resource. I am confident that this derogation which is due to expire on 31 December 2002 will be maintained in the forthcoming Review of the CFP. For my part, I shall want to argue then for these access restrictions to be made permanent.

Fisheries Council

Mr. Jim Marshall: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on the outcome of the Fisheries Council held in Brussels on 14 December. [143617]

Mr. Morley [pursuant to his reply, 19 December 2000, c. 134-35W]: My answer in paragraph 5 gave a figure of 4,000 tonnes as the levels of agreed total UK quotas in comparison with the Commission's proposals. This figure was incorrect, and should have read 40,000 tonnes. The rest of the answer remains correct.

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Office Costs Allowance

Mr. Wyatt: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office when she plans to publish the report into the office costs allowance being undertaken by the Senior Salaries Review Body. [146894]

Marjorie Mowlam: I refer my hon. Friend to the written answer given by the Prime Minister on 23 October 2000, Official Report, columns 68-69W. I understand that the SSRB is in the process of taking evidence for the review and will submit its report to the Government in due course.

Ministerial Cars

Mr. Brady: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office (1) if she will list the occasions since 1 May 1997 on which ministerial cars have been stopped by police for (a) speeding and (b) other motoring offences, listing in each case whether further action was taken; [147234]

Mr. Ian McCartney: Responsibility for these matters has been delegated under the terms of the Framework Document to the Government Car and Despatch Agency. I have asked its Chief Executive, Mr. Nick Matheson, to write to the hon. Member.

Letter from N. C. N. Matheson to Mr. Graham Brady, dated 25 January 2001:

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Devolved Administrations (Spending Allocations)

13. Mr. Cousins: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the increase will be in the English base allocation that forms the comparator for spending allocations to the devolved Administrations in 2001-02. [145805]

Mr. Andrew Smith: The increase between 2000-01 and 2001-02 in the departmental expenditure limits announced in the 2000 spending review of Government Departments which have comparable spending in one or more of the devolved Administrations was some £14.3 billion.

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