HC Deb 22 April 2004 vol 420 cc431-2
9. Mr. David Amess (Southend, West) (Con)

How many registered fishing licences have been revoked since 2001; and if she will make a statement. [167011]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Mr. Ben Bradshaw)

None. If for any reason a licence becomes invalid, the holder of the licence will usually retain an entitlement to apply for a further licence, which must be made within three years of the entitlement first arising.

Mr. Amess

I believe that the Minister recognises how important the fishing and cockling industry is to my constituents in Leigh-on-Sea in Essex. I think that he also realises that local families feel under increasing pressure in terms of the catch that they can take as a result of changes from Europe. Will he agree to meet a small delegation of those concerned to discuss changes in the licensing and registration of vessels?

Mr. Bradshaw

Yes, I would be happy to receive a delegation. He will be aware that the cockling and shellfish industry in this country is doing extremely well at the moment. Recent figures show that incomes have doubled. As he knows, problems with North sea cod stocks may have affected some of his local fishermen, but I shall be happy to receive a delegation if he wants to bring one.

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