Has the Secretary of State received any report about the three-hour seminar that took place in this building last month when substantial evidence of great scientific interest was given concerning the existence of a large animal in Loch Ness? Does the right hon. Gentleman accept that the Loch Ness monster is in need of protection, because it is believed that it must feed on salmon which are prolific in Loch Ness and there may be commercial interests also seeking salmon that could jeopardise the Loch Ness monster?
The hon. Gentleman asked whether I had had a report of that seminar. My hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State who is responsible for agricultural and other matters in the Scottish Office attended the seminar. My hon. Friend was impressed, but I do not think that he was convinced. I believe that we should all have open minds in this matter. [Laughter.] If there were sufficient evidence available, I am sure that all those hon. Members who are now laughing would now be on their feet demanding that I should take steps to give protection. We possess certain powers and, if the existence of the monster is proved, we shall use them.
May I first thank the Under-Secretary of State for Scotland for attending the seminar, which I organised? Is he aware that the visual evidence is at least as strong at Loch Morar and Loch Lochy as at Loch Ness, and only marginally less so in regard to Loch Shiel and Loch Oich? As one might be dealing with a species that is declining in numbers and that could even become extinct, would it not be better to play safe rather than to take risks and for the Secretary of State, without prejudice, now to extend protection to that species, which has now been designated "nessiteras rhombopteryx"?
So far as I know, that is not exactly true. I would point out that the two hon. Members who took the trouble to organise the seminar were Members with English constituencies.