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BSE: Animal Experiments

Lord Vinson asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Donoughue: The experimental animals were fed 100g of infected brain material. This was recognised at the time that the experiment was started (1991) to be potentially in excess of the natural challenge in most cases. Nevertheless, it was essential to ensure that cattle became infected otherwise the experiment would have produced no meaningful results. We now have evidence that 1g of brain tissue will transmit disease, but only six out of 10 cattle have died as a result so far. It is probable that most cattle became infected by consuming more than the equivalent of 1g of heat-treated brain, as reflected by their relative incubation periods. A further range of experiments is planned that will examine the consequences of challenge with smaller quantities of brain.

Sheep Carcases for Sale: Preparation

Lord Vinson asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Donoughue: The requirements for the preparation of sheep carcases for sale are primarily intended to protect public health against the possibility that BSE exists in the sheep flock, even though there is, at present, no evidence that BSE occurs naturally in sheep.

There is no evidence to suggest that scrapie presents a risk to human health.

Fisheries Council, Brussels,18-19 December 1997

Lord Hughes of Woodside asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Lord Donoughue: My honourable friend the Parliamentary Secretary represented the United Kingdom at the meeting of the Fisheries Council in Brussels on 18-19 December, together with my noble friend the Under-Secretary of State at the Scottish Office.

The council agreed by qualified majority, with Ireland voting against, the total allowable catches and quotas to apply in 1998 in Community waters.

Throughout the negotiations the Government stressed the need to be guided by the advice of the scientists and to be cautious in our management of fish stocks while at the same time taking account of the practical realities and economic needs of fishermen. We believe that the final package struck that balance.

In order to conserve stocks, TACs were reduced where necessary. In other cases, where the state of stocks justified it, TACs were increased. At the end of the negotiations, the total UK quotas agreed for the stocks of most importance to our fishermen were some 26,000 tonnes higher in cod equivalent terms than the quotas being discussed at the start of the negotiations. This increase is worth approximately £11 million to the industry and means our total quotas in cod equivalent terms for these stocks are 5 per cent. above the 1997 level. Higher quotas for some stocks combined with the fleet reductions which have been taking place should increase the profitability of our fishermen.

The Government invoked the Hague Preference on all stocks where it was necessary to do so.

We are very pleased to say that the agreement included a new TAC for sandeels and new allocations for five other North Sea stocks. These new controls will limit uptake in some sensitive fisheries and their establishment represents a significant advance in conservation. Moreover, the Government secured changes which greatly improved the UK's share of the TACs for North Sea sprat and herring by-catches.

As well as for the first time introducing a catch limit on sandeels in the North Sea, the council agreed further restrictions on industrial fisheries by reducing the TAC set for herring by-catches in industrial fisheries.

The Council did not agree the new North Sea TACs proposed for anglerfish, megrim, turbot, mixed flatfish, and skates and rays. It did, however, make a commitment to reach agreement on these TACs by 30 March 1998 and, in order to avoid irresponsible fishing, the council and commission agreed to our suggestion that no fish caught after 1 January 1998 will count towards track records under the new TACs.

Within the package there was agreement to the allocation of the western waters horse mackerel TAC in which the Government secured an increase in the UK's share from 8.28 per cent. to 9.81 per cent.

We also succeeded in securing an increase to 22.29 per cent. as the United Kingdom's share of the TAC for Atlanto-Scandian herring. This will replace the 19.85 per cent. share imposed on the UK at the April Fisheries Council.

The council agreed unanimously to access and quota arrangements for 1998 with neighbouring non-member

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states. Declines in the stocks managed by Norway mean that Community and UK fishing opportunities have been reduced at North Norway. We have, however, retained our quotas in Faroese, Greenland and Iceland waters at the same levels as in 1997.

The Council also agreed unanimously to the allocation of the Community's 1998 quotas in the waters covered by the North-West Atlantic Fisheries Organisation, together with technical conservation and control measures applicable to those waters, and to the allocation of the Community's redfish quota in the waters covered by the North-East Atlantic Fisheries Commission, together with management measures for those waters.

In order to implement commitments made in the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas, the council agreed unanimously to the introduction of TACs for bluefin tuna and swordfish.

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The commission presented a paper reviewing the marketing of fisheries products which will be discussed during the current UK Presidency.

MAGP IV: UK Objectives

Lord Hughes of Woodside asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What are the United Kingdom's objectives for the multi-annual guidance programme (MAGP IV) now adopted by the European Commission and announced on 17 December 1997.[HL64]

Lord Donoughue: The Commission announced on 17 December that it had adopted the objectives for all 13 maritime member states, details of which are to be published shortly in a series of commission decisions addressed to the member states concerned.

The full table applying to the United Kingdom which we expect to appear in the Official Journal is reproduced below:

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United Kingdom: Decision on MAGP IV

Situation 1 January 1997 Objective 31 December 1996 Objective 31 December 2001
Area/ Stocks Segment FisheryCatch composition (per cent.)Pilot rate (per cent.)Weighted reduction (per cent.)GT(1) kWGT(1)kWGT (1) x t ((1)000)kW x t ((1)000)GT(1)kWGT (1) x t ((1)000)kW x t ((1)000)
Small scale coastal <10 metres --------20,120286,36721,901286,154----21,901286,154----
Sub total20,120286,36721,901286,154----21,901286,154
EU waters
PelagicPelagic trawl and Purse seinesNorth Sea Herring IV,VIId DR: 69 OF: 3 Others: 28 3021.8--------1,6603,841----1,3013,009
Western pelagic Vb,VI, VII ex VIId VIII DR: 0 OF: 65 Others: 35 2013.0--------4,98111,524----4,33410,028
External waters (Atlanto- scandian herring) --------------00----(1)570(1)1,036
Blue whiting IV, VI, VII,VIII --------00----(1)460(1)644
Segment totals(1)37,45371,87634,87682,1686,64115,36534,87682,1686,66514,717
EU waters
FlatfishBeam trawlFlatfish IV DR: 63 OF: 1 Others: 36 3019.2--------3,98815,529----3,22112,542
Flatfish VII, VIDR: 11 OF: 17 Others: 71 308.0--------2,0927,234----1,9176,631
Segment totals(1)28,240117,61626,062103,0546,08022,76326,062103,0545,13819,173
EU waters
DemersalDemersal trawls seines, NephropsDemersal IV, Vb, VI, VII, VIIIDR: 18 OF: 29 Others: 53 3014.2116,581400,127120,630422,87629,11998,210120,630422,87624,99384,294
EU waters
Demersal and pelagicLines and netsDR: 15 OF: 13 Others: 72 308.316,43151,97715,85467,364----14,53861,744----
Shellfish (and demersal)Shellfish fixedDR: 1 OF: 0 Others: 99 250.46,41344,4636,26735,895----6,24235,768----
EU waters
Shellfish (and demersal)Shellfish mobileDR: 1 OF: 1 Other: 97 250.611,76655,64811,61551,232----11,55250,958----
EU waters
DemersalDistant waterEU waters(1)DR: 5 OF: 21 Others: 74 307.911,98019,72111,29618,0622,8994,51011,29618,0622,6704,154
International waters
External waters(1)DR: 0 OF: 0 Others: 100 5,4587,1333,5875,679----3,5875,679----
Sub total234,322768,561230,187786,330----228,783780,309----

DR = Depletion risk.

OF = Overfished.

(1) Includes estimated GT values in accordance with article 4 of the present decision. The objectives will be revised as real GT values become available.

(1) The objectives for 2001 for these fisheries are based on the levels of effort in 1996 and 1997. These objectives are subject to review in the light of the development of the fisheries.

(1) The capacity objectives for 1996 have been increased by 2,108 GT, representing 45 per cent. of the backlog from the MAGP III.

(1) The capacity objectives for 1996 have been increased by 1,782 GT and 11,914 kW, representing 45 per cent. of the backlog from the MAGP III.

(1) Vessels fishing at least half the time in external waters. The capacity objectives for 1996 have been increased by 560 GT and 1,357 kW, representing 45 per cent. of the backlog from the MAGP III.

(1) Vessels fishing exclusively outside EU waters. The objectives for this fishery are provisional and may be revised within the provisions of Article 8 of Council Decision 97/413/EC.

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The above figures do not take account of the expected take up of decommissioning grants under the 1997 Scheme, nor of other changes in the fleet register since the end of 1996, notably in the pelagic segment.

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When allowance is made for these factors, the effective reductions now required to meet the MAGP IV objectives are currently estimated as follows:

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Estimated rates of reduction required to implement the UK's objectives for MAGP IV in the light of the current UK fleet position and projected take up of 1997 decommissioning scheme

SegmentFisheryEstimated capacity/activity reduction
Pelagic trawls and purse seinesNorth Sea herring Western pelagic Atlanto-Scandian herring Blue whiting36 per cent. effort reduction 29 per cent. effort reduction Effort not to exceed 1996 level Effort not to exceed 1997 level
Beam trawlNorth Sea Area VII19 per cent. effort reduction 8 per cent. effort reduction
Demersal and nephrop trawls and seinesMonitor and maintain effort within recent levels
Lines and netsReduce fleet tonnage by 7 per cent.
Shellfish mobile gearsTonnage objective already met
Shellfish fixed gearsTonnage objective already met
Distant water fleetMixed External and EU waters (over 50 per cent. non-EU) Non-EU waters onlyTonnage objective already met Maintain capacity in line with fishing opportunities
Small scale coastal under 10 metresTonnage objective already met

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