Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee

Session 2004-05
22 March 2005

22 March 2005

By-catch of small cetaceans off the UK coast:

Committee welcomes European Commission announcement

The Chairman of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, Rt Hon Michael Jack MP, today welcomed the commitment made by the European Union's Fisheries Commissioner to an early review of the data on by-catch of small cetaceans in the English Channel and western approaches. The announcement follows representations to the Commission by the UK Government and a report from the Committee calling for the Government to take urgent action at EU level on measures to mitigate cetacean by-catch.

Mr Jack said: "The Committee expressed concern in its 2004 report on cetacean by-catch about the impact of pair trawling and gill netting on dolphins and harbour porpoises off the coast of South-West England, and recommended the emergency closure of the pelagic trawl fishery for sea bass if measures to mitigate by-catch proved ineffective. We therefore welcome the announcement by the Fisheries Commissioner that the Commission will undertake a review of by-catch data."



The Committee's report Caught in the net: by-catch of dolphins and porpoises off the UK coast, was published on 30 January 2004 as the Committee's Third Report of Session 2003-04 (HC 88). The Government's reply was published as the Committee's Seventh Special Report on 28 April 2004 (HC 540).

Further details about the Committee can be found on the Committee's homepage at: www.parliament.uk/efracom.

Information about the Committee can also be obtained on 020 7219 5774.