§ Mr. Alan Reid
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions she has held with the European Commission regarding prawn quotas. 
§ Mr. Morley
[holding answer 20 November 2001]: The Government requested the Commission, by letter of 20 July 2001, to bring forward a proposal to restore the 10 per cent. cut that the EU made in the Total Allowable Catches for nephrops in the Irish sea, the North sea and west of Scotland in order to protect stocks of cod and hake. It is our contention that these cuts are not needed for reasons related to the state of the nephrops stocks and make no significant contribution to the protection of cod and hake.
The Commission has not so far seen fit to grant our request, despite having declared last December that it would bring forward proposals if such a case were demonstrated.
We are continuing to pursue this matter, including through, in the last few days, representation of the case to Commission officials by a delegation of officials from all the Fisheries Departments in the United Kingdom. I have now taken this up myself directly with Commissioner Fischler as a matter of urgency and am currently awaiting his response.