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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-21846: Finlay Carson (Galloway and West Dumfries)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 27 February 2019

To ask the Scottish Government what information it collects on fishing net entanglements, and how many there have been since 2015 involving (a) humpback whales, (b) minke whales, (c) porpoises and (d) dolphins.

Answered by: Mairi Gougeon 8 March 2019

The Scottish Government funds the Scottish Marine Animal Strandings Scheme (SMASS) which investigates and collects records of strandings, including entanglements.

Between 2015 and 2018, there were seven cases reported by SMASS as being consistent with entanglement, of which two were confirmed as being witnessed as entangled prior to stranding. Those seven reports consisted of: one northern bottlenose whale, one humpback whale, four minke whales and one killer whale. In addition there were two cases of bycatch of harbour porpoise.

SMASS are leading on the “Scottish Entanglement Alliance” project. This three year project aims to work closely with the Scottish inshore fishing industry to provide a co-ordinated, comprehensive monitoring and entanglement programme to better understand the scale and impact of marine mammal entanglement.

The Scottish Government supports work to reduce the risk of entanglement of wildlife at sea. In 2017 the Scottish Government signed up to the Global Ghost Gear Initiative, to tackle ghost gear in our shared seas and oceans, and we encourage responsible disposal of fishing gear by our fleets through our work with KIMO, and our work with the other administrations of the British Irish Council to improve end of life gear recycling.