§ Mr. Morley
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what research he has commissioned on the impact of dredging on the Wash shrimp fishery; and if he will assess the advantages of allocating alternative dredging areas to evaluate the impact of dredging on the shrimp fishery. 
§ Mr. Baldry
An intensive dredging operation is being carried out in a licensed area known as area 107, well outside the mouth of the Wash, to provide sand to replenish the beaches along 22 km of the Lincolnshire coast.
When asked to contribute to a Government view on the necessary increase to the quantity licensed for extraction, I insisted on an extensive monitoring programme. Work undertaken has confirmed that the shrimp population in the general area has declined, but has shown no evidence as yet to link this with the dredging operations and studies of the area have shown that a healthy benthic community has been maintained even quite close to the dredging area. There are no scientific grounds therefore, at present for moving the dredging to a different area.