some default text...
Previous Section Index Home Page


GM Fish

Mr. Alan Simpson: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) if he will list the dedicated research being undertaken into the potential effects on biodiversity of the use of GM aquaculture stocks; [157267]

8 May 2001 : Column: 137W

Ms Quin: The Ministry has not commissioned any research in this area. The potential risks of releasing GM fish are well understood and are considered in a booklet published by the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions entitled "Guidance for Experimental Releases of Genetically Modified Fish" (ACRE Guidance Note 8, February 1997). This is available in the House Library. Anyone proposing the release of a GM fish would have to submit a full dossier of risk assessment data as part of the statutory consent procedure.

8 May 2001 : Column: 138W

Mr. Alan Simpson: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list the research programmes into fish genetics his Department has been involved with in the last 10 years. [157276]

Ms Quin: The Ministry has commissioned the following projects in the broad area of fish genetics, only one of which (FC1126) was related to the possible development of transgenic fish:

8 May 2001 : Column: 137W

CodeProject title
SF0102The genetic identification of Atlantic salmon populations.
SF0103Collation and analysis of data on genetic variation in Atlantic salmon from the British Isles.
SF0217The role of the major histocompatibility complex in kin recognition in Atlantic salmon.
SF0223Behavioural genetics and spawning success of spring run Atlantic salmon in the Girnock Burn, Aberdeenshire.
SF0210Molecular genetics for discrimination in marine fish and salmonids.
SF0224Detection of triploidy in Rainbow trout and Brown trout by fluorescence in situ hybridisation.
FC0207Production of sexually sterile bivalve molluscs.
FC0215Enhancing growth and survival of hatchery produced scallops.
FC1118The molecular basis for the pathogenicity of viral haemorrhagic septicaemia virus.
FC1126Designing fish for disease resistance.
FC1139Improving the health of fish by promoting natural disease resistance--a molecular biological approach.
MF0146Genetic identification of fish eggs by species-specific DNA markers for use in stock biomass assessments by the egg production method.
MF0226Population genetics of shellfish in British waters.
MF0428Large scale evaluation of fish egg identification using genetic probes.

8 May 2001 : Column: 137W

Mr. Alan Simpson: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what steps the UK Government have taken to enforce Article 9.3.1 of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation code of conduct on minimising the harmful effects of introducing genetically altered fish stocks. [157270]

Ms Quin: In line with EU directive 90/220, a consent to release transgenic fish would be granted only if a rigorous assessment confirmed there was no unacceptable risk to human health or the environment. The assessment would take into account the likelihood of farmed fish escaping into open waters and look in detail at the potential impact on wild stocks. This policy is fully in accord with the UN/FAO code of conduct for responsible fisheries.

Stationery and Printing

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what the total gross running costs were to his Department in the 12 months ending 30 April 1997 of (a) stationery and (b) printing and publishing. [157628]

Ms Quin [holding answer 6 April 2001]: Our records show that the total gross running costs to core MAFF in the 12 months ending 30 April 1997 of (a) stationery and (b) printing and publishing were £1.912 million and £835,500 respectively.

Parliamentary Questions

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when he will reply to the question tabled by the hon. Member for Vale of York on 27 March relating to protection of rare breeds during the foot and mouth crisis (ref: 156277). [157367]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 6 April 2001]: I refer the hon. Member to the reply given to her on 30 April 2001, Official Report, column 493W.

8 May 2001 : Column: 138W

Mr. Duncan: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when he will provide a substantive answer to the question tabled by the hon. Member for Rutland and Melton on 28 March 2001, relating to the foot and mouth infected area around Stonesby, Leicestershire. [157489]

Ms Quin [holding answer 9 April 2001]: I refer the hon. Member to the reply given to him on 30 April 2001, Official Report, column 493W.

Mr. Key: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when he will provide a substantive answer to the question tabled by the hon. Member for Salisbury for answer on 29 March. [160345]

Ms Quin: I refer the hon. Member to the reply given to him on 3 May 2001, Official Report, column 737W.

A/F Protein Inc.

Mr. Alan Simpson: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) if (a) he and (b) his Department's officials have met representatives of A/F Protein Inc. of Waltham, Massachusetts, United States; [157769]

Ms Quin: To the best of our knowledge, neither Ministers nor officials have met or received representations from anyone associated with A/F Protein Inc.

Fisheries and Aquaculture (State Aid)

Mrs. Ray Michie: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what his Department's policy is on the European Commission's new guidelines for the examination of state aid to fisheries and aquaculture; and if he will make a statement. [157839]

8 May 2001 : Column: 139W

Mr. Morley: The new guidelines for the examination of state aid to fisheries and aquaculture (2001/C 19/05) build on the previous guidelines. Among the changes made they tighten rules relating to the provision of operating aid and require more consistency with the conditions applying to grants under the EU fisheries structure fund. The UK, along with the other member states, were consulted on the new guidelines and will comply with them.

EpiMan Computer Programme

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when the Department acquired (a) the EpiMan computer programme, (b) associated hardware and (c) access to expertise and advice for its (i) installation and (ii) operation; at what total cost; and when the EpiMan programme and operating system was (1) installed and (2) operating for full use by his Department. [157633]

Ms Quin [holding answer 9 April 2001]: The Ministry was already contracted partners to the EpiMan project in 1996. The start-up costs were approximately £16,000. An updated version of the system was obtained and installed on Monday 19 February 2001 at no additional cost. The associated hardware was already available and access to expertise and advice, specifically for its use in the current epidemic, was operational from the time of confirmation of the first case. It is not possible to estimate the cost of operating this system.

8 May 2001 : Column: 140W

Departmental Policies

(Plymouth Unitary Authority)

Mrs. Gilroy: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will set out, with statistical information relating as directly as possible to (a) Plymouth, Sutton constituency, (b) Plymouth, Devonport constituency and (c) South-West Devon constituency, the effects on the Plymouth unitary authority area of his Department's policies and actions since 2 May 1997. [158026]

Ms Quin [holding answer 23 April 2001]: MAFF does not hold statistical information on a constituency basis relating to the Department's policies. Information on land use, crop areas, livestock numbers, and labour on holdings in England by parliamentary constituency has been produced from 1 June 1999 annual agricultural and horticultural census. A copy has been placed in the Library of the House. Information from the 1 June 2000 census has been placed in the House Library.

As many of the Department's policies flow from measures agreed within the framework of the EU common agricultural policy, statistical data are normally available on a UK or England basis. Farmers in the UK receive approximately £3 billion per year in direct CAP payments. This does not include the significant additional costs to consumers as a result of CAP price supports which keep EU prices above prevailing world prices. The value of direct CAP payments to the average farmer is set out in the table.

8 May 2001 : Column: 139W

Average subsidies received by full-time farm businesses--England 1999-2000

£000
Of which:
Total direct subsidiesCrop subsidiesLivestock subsidiesAgri-environmentOther(24)
Cereals37.834.22.31.00.1
General cropping31.828.82.40.60.0
Horticulture0.400.20.00.10.2
Pigs and poultry3.62.21.40.10.0
Dairy8.52.84.90.80.0
LFA cattle and Sheep29.30.425.43.30.2
Lowland cattle and sheep14.11.710.61.80.0
Mixed33.821.410.71.70.0
All types22.514.86.41.20.1

(24) Includes capital grants and any other miscellaneous grants. These reflect a combination of nationally funded and partly match funded schemes

Notes:

1. HLCA payments to hill farms are included under livestock subsidies

2. The figures show direct subsidy payments; they do not include allowance for the financial benefit of prices supported above world market levels under the CAP

Source:

Farm Business Survey


8 May 2001 : Column: 139W

In addition to CAP direct payments, farmers in the UK are benefiting from £1.35 billion in short-term financial relief since 2 May 1997.

This incudes £785 million in agrimonetary compensation worth some £4,800 per average arable farmer, £3,200 per average dairy farmer, £1,400 per average sheep farmer, and £1,140 and £3,800 per average farmer for agrimonetary compensation related to the beef special premium scheme and suckler cow premium scheme respectively.

The Government are committed to securing a more economically rational CAP. We aim to redirect public money from agricultural price support mechanisms to

8 May 2001 : Column: 140W

rural development measures of benefit to the wider rural community and visitors to the countryside.

Since May 1997, the Government are committed to securing a more economically rational CAP. We aim to redirect public money from agricultural price support mechanisms to rural development measures of benefit to the wider rural community and visitors to the countryside.

Since May 1997, the Government have more than doubled expenditure on agri-environment schemes in England. We now have more than twice as much land covered by countryside stewardship agreements and we have increased the funding of organic conversion from £571,000 in 1997-98 to £12 million in 2000-01 and

8 May 2001 : Column: 141W

£18 million in 2001-02. Full-time hill farmers in England will be in receipt of some £6,360 on average following the introduction of the hill farm allowance scheme this year. This compares to £4,048 under the hill livestock compensatory allowance in 1996-97.

One of the most important outcomes of Agenda 2000 was the establishment of the rural development regulation, which is being implemented in England through the England rural development programme (ERDP), investing around £1.6 billion in rural areas over the period 2000-06.

Farmers in South-West Devon can benefit from schemes available under the ERDP. Three of the schemes within the programme--rural enterprise, processing and marketing, and vocational training--have a budget of around £190 million and are being operated on a regional basis; each region has its own allocation. These allocations are set out in the ERDP.

Furthermore, by supporting rural development, including diversification into tourist activities, and by conserving and enhancing the rural environment through support for public good such as biodiversity and landscape appearance, the ERDP offers benefits to all who visit the countryside.

Consumers in Plymouth, Sutton, Plymouth, Devonport and South-West Devon will benefit from the Agenda 2000 reforms of the CAP in the form of reduced food bills, with the average saving for a typical family rising to £65 a year by 2010. In relation to the Department's responsibility for fisheries policy, our key priority is to protect our fisheries resources for the future and we are taking firm action to ensure a viable future for the fishing industry. The last set of grant schemes, which ended in 1999, invested over £27 million in measures to help the fishing industry in England. Fishermen operating in the Plymouth, Sutton, Plymouth, Devonport and South-West Devon constituencies will now benefit from the £22.5 million aid package announced on 2 April, to help restructure the English fishing industry, to improve the quality and value of the catch, and to retrain fishermen and rejuvenate fishing ports.


Next Section Index Home Page