Environment Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered at on 7 April 2005.

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Photo of Ms Candy Atherton Ms Candy Atherton Labour, Falmouth and Camborne

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many cetaceans have been reported stranded during the 2004–05 season of the pair trawl sea bass fishery.

Photo of Ben Bradshaw Ben Bradshaw Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) (Local Environment, Marine and Animal Welfare)

The pair trawling sea bass fishery season usually starts in November and continues until April and fishing for sea bass takes place in the south-west Approaches. From 1 November 2004 to 4 March 2005, a total of 90 cetaceans have been reported as stranded on the south coast (Cornwall, Devon and Dorset,). These comprised 47 common dolphins, 31harbour porpoises, one bottlenose dolphin, two long-finned pilot whales and nine unidentified cetaceans.

All strandings found in the south-west cannot be solely attributed to the pair trawling sea bass fishery. These figures include stranded dead cetaceans, live strandings and carcasses seen floating at sea. Only 12 of the 90 cetaceans that were stranded were definitely confirmed as bycatch. The data were obtained under the Defra-funded Cetacean and Turtle Strandings Scheme, carried out by the Natural History Museum in partnership with the Institute of Zoology and Scottish Agricultural College.

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