Bob Seely Written Questions

Questions to Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs tabled by Bob Seely

Date Title Questioner
5 Nov 2019, 11:18 a.m. Fisheries Bob Seely


To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps she is taking to protect UK fish stocks from over-fishing after the UK leaves the EU.

Answer (George Eustice)

The UK Government remains fully committed to sustainable fisheries management and the principle of Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY). This will not change once we are outside the EU and the Common Fisheries Policy. We will continue to work with other coastal states in partnership to sustainably manage shared stocks.

The Government will be reintroducing a Fisheries Bill, which will provide a framework to enable us to continue to push for more stocks being fished at MSY and delivering our ambition for sustainable fishing in the future. The first clause of this Bill will enact several sustainability objectives, one of which is to restore fish stocks to levels capable of producing MSY. The Bill will create a binding duty on the UK Government and Devolved Administrations to produce a statutory Joint Fisheries Statement (JFS). This statement must include policies for the achievement of the sustainability objectives, including on MSY.

We will take back control of our waters ensuring that they are fished sustainably. In England, Defra has worked with the Marine Management Organisation to assess the risk of increased illegal fishing when the UK leaves the EU and strengthened our control and enforcement resources accordingly. We are also working closely with the Devolved Administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to ensure a coordinated approach to fisheries control and enforcement across UK waters.

5 Nov 2019, 11:08 a.m. Fisheries Bob Seely


To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps she is taking to ensure that industrial fishing vessels operating off the UK coast (a) comply with environmental standards and (b) use fishing methods that do not present a risk to (i) dolphins and (b) other marine life; and if she will make a statement.

Answer (George Eustice)

The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) has robust control and enforcement systems in place to monitor and enforce compliance with the full range of fisheries and environmental regulations. The MMO uses inspections at sea and in port to assure compliance by individual fishing vessels on key measures including those governing types and size of fishing gear. Technology, combined with intelligence-gathering, is used daily to ensure vessels do not fish illegally in protected areas where marine life could be adversely impacted by fishing activities.

We are committed to protecting vulnerable marine species such as dolphins and seabirds in UK waters. We are currently developing plans and implementing regional measures, in close collaboration with the fishing industry, to reduce bycatch of these iconic species.

8 Jun 2018, 2:01 p.m. Bovine Tuberculosis: Disease Control Bob Seely


To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what the timetable is for the introduction of the improved testing methods for (a) bovine tuberculosis testing and (b) Phage.

Answer (George Eustice)

Research is underway to develop an improved version of the tuberculin skin test, and Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) is facilitating the provision of samples to companies who wish to validate their test but until this work is concluded successfully it is not possible to set a timetable for the introduction of new tests.

From April 2016, new breakdown herds in the High risk Area (HRA) regardless of post-mortem or laboratory culture results require two consecutive short interval herd tests with negative results, read under ‘severe’ interpretation, before restrictions are lifted. This measure reduces the risk of leaving TB infected cattle in de-restricted herds.

Since April 2017, the more sensitive interferon-gamma test has been used (alongside the skin test) to help resolve TB breakdowns with lesion and/or culture positive animals in the HRA, in certain circumstances.

Farmers in England can, via a private veterinarian and with prior APHA approval, submit blood samples for TB testing to an APHA laboratory at their own expense where farmers seek additional assurances as to the TB-free status of animals over and above those afforded by statutory testing.

I have held discussions with the developers of a so called "Phage test" and Defra officials have assisted them by giving them information about the authorisation process for their concept.

6 Jun 2018, 3:31 p.m. Bovine Tuberculosis: Disease Control Bob Seely


To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether the Bovine TB Strategy Review committee chaired by Sir Charles Godfray will include a review of badger culling; and what the timetable is for that committee to report.

Answer (George Eustice)

The published terms of reference set out that badger culling is within the scope of the Bovine TB strategy review. They explain that this is not narrowly a review of culling alone, but of the whole strategy, of which culling is just one part. The review is forward looking and will consider what steps can be taken to improve, enhance or accelerate interventions to achieve the eradication of bovine TB.

The review is expected to conclude by the end of September 2018. The findings will be submitted to Defra Ministers for consideration and a final report published in due course.

Further details on the review can be found at: