After section 17

Part of Aquaculture and Fisheries (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3 – in the Scottish Parliament at 3:15 pm on 1st March 2007.

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Photo of Ross Finnie Ross Finnie Liberal Democrat 3:15 pm, 1st March 2007

I am addressing the amendments in the order in which they were spoken to. I know that Richard Lochhead is anxious for me to respond to his amendments, but he must not get excited. I am dealing with the substance of Mr McGrigor's point. Public information is the important thing; therefore, I hope that Mr McGrigor will withdraw amendment 1.

I turn to amendments 1A and 15—I hope that this will calm the SNP front bench. It is entirely reasonable to expect that Parliament will be informed at any time of steps that are being taken to resist the importation of serious diseases such as gyrodactylosis. However, that is something that people would expect at any time. They would expect developments to be reported and they would expect ministers to report the fact should incidences of the disease arise in mainland Europe. The public should be informed of that—indeed, there may have to be a reassessment of the risk that has already been identified. Therefore, although that is perfectly plausible and, as a minister, I have no difficulty in undertaking to provide that information to Parliament, I do not think that that is a matter to be enshrined in statute. I do not believe that the matter requires statutory underpinning within the bill; therefore, I invite Mr Lochhead to withdraw amendment 1A and not to move amendment 15.