§ Mr. Bercow
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many(a) Finnish, (b) Spanish and (c) Portuguese vessels he estimates will fish North Sea stocks after 31 December 2002; how many vessels (i) from the UK and (ii) in total fish these stocks at present; and if he will commission a study on the effect of such fishing on stocks. 
§ Mr. Morley
As things currently stand, from 1 January 2003, vessels from Finland, Spain and Portugal will only be entitled to fish for non-quota stocks in the North Sea. The number of vessels from Finland, Spain and Portugal that fish in the North Sea after 31 December 2002 will depend on commercial decisions taken by the fishermen in these countries. It is not possible to estimate accurately how many vessels will chose to fish in the North Sea. The number is likely to be extremely low. In any case they will have no access to any stock covered by quota arrangements as all main commercial stocks are in this category.
945 UK vessels currently fish for North Sea stocks. We do not keep information on other member states vessels fishing in the North Sea.