AQUACULTURE: ALIEN AND LOCALLY ABSENT
Letter from Ben Bradshaw MP, Minister
for Local Environment, Marine and Animal Welfare, Department for
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to the Chairman
When your Committee considered the above mentioned
Explanatory Memorandum at their meeting of 24 May 2006, it was
retained under a scrutiny reserve pending submission of a Regulatory
Impact Assessment (RIA). I am writing to update you on the progress
of this work.
We recently conducted a consultation with the
industry in which we asked them to give us their views on the
proposal and for information that we could use to draft a RIA.
We had a very limited response, and most agreed with the line
Government were taking. There are some concerns about our suggestion
that the industry should pay for the risk assessment, and that
the Regulation would be applied retrospectively. There is also
concern about the classification of Rainbow Trout as an exotic
species. This fish has been present in the UK for over 100 years,
and is found and farmed extensively throughout the European Union.
Clearly the imposition of a permit on each movement would be prohibitive
on the industry. However, none of the responses gave us enough
information to be able to draft a RIA.
We are concerned about the bureaucracy of the
proposal and we have mentioned this to the Commission. Following
the consultation, we will write again to the Commission reiterating
our view about this and repeat our suggestion that this should
be recast as a Directive. We will also raise this when the proposal
is discussed at Working Group. We continue to believe that it
is proper for the industry to shoulder the costs of risk assessment.
There are enough safeguards to ensure that the financial burden
will not be too onerous. One key element will be to try and persuade
the Commission that the Regulation should not be applied retrospectively.
We accept that rainbow trout are widely farmed in the European
Union but we cannot regard them as native to UK rivers and would
therefore wish to see any new farms wishing to exploit this species
kept within the scope of the Regulation.
In conclusion, since it is hard to assess the
full financial impact this proposal will have on the industry
due to the lack of available information, we are not proposing
to prepare a RIA at this stage. Should such information become
available at a later date then we will re-examine this issue.
6 July 2007