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Report cover showing a fish catch

Fisheries Enforcement in England

“The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has improved the effectiveness of enforcement: for example, by requiring larger vessels to land at designated ports to make it easier to target inspections. The low chance of prosecution and the potentially high gains, however, may encourage illegal catches and landing of fish, undermining conservation policies.

“Continuing threats to fish stocks highlight the need for effective enforcement methods, as recognised by the recent reforms to the Common Fisheries Policy agreed by European Union Ministers which seek to tighten controls in all member states.”

Published:
3 Apr 2003
Report cover showing harvested leeks

Reaping the Rewards of Agricultural Research

“The Department and its contractors have sought to transfer knowledge and disseminate results of agricultural research funded by the public sector. However, commercial exploitation has historically been limited and royalties have been low. The deals to commercialise the nuclear transfer technology are the exception.

“Each new venture requires lessons to be learned and shared in the handling of commercialisation. However, the leadership and personal commitment shown in taking forward those cases where intellectual property has been exploited is to be commended.”

Published:
23 Jan 2003
Report cover showing a farm with possible Foot and mouth disease

The 2001 Outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease

“This outbreak had a devastating effect on the rural economy and parts of the tourist industry. We must acknowledge that it was of an unprecedented nature and magnitude. In the light of what happened, urgent action is needed to produce contingency plans which would be more sensitive to outbreaks of different scales and thus be better suited to dealing with a future crisis on this scale. Moreover, further research must be carried out into effective measures for tackling foot and mouth. And the means for ensuring minimum standards of cost and financial control in crisis conditions must be established.

“There are lessons to be learned for the whole of government from the foot and mouth crisis. Departments need to be aware of the major threats in their areas of business and to have contingency plans in place which conform with best practice on risk management.”

Published:
21 Jun 2002
Report cover showing a field

Agricultural Fraud: The case of Joseph Bowden

“The Report highlights what can happen when checks on claims for agricultural subsidies are not sufficiently rigorous. In this case the authorities successfully prosecuted a fraudster but his illegal activities would have come to light earlier had the Ministry’s checks been more thorough. Large sums of public money are at risk under Common Agricultural Policy Schemes, and although systems have been put in place to prevent a repetition of the fraud, the Department and the Rural Payments Agency will have to maintain a careful watch.”

Published:
22 Feb 2002
Report cover showing sheep

The Sheep Annual Premium Scheme in England

“I am pleased that the Ministry has in large measure addressed the problems of flock records and urge them to continue working with farmers to get it right. This will help to protect the taxpayer from the risk of losing reimbursement from European funds. It will also assist farmers in satisfying scheme rules so that they can get the benefit of a scheme which is providing valuable support at a time of crisis in the industry.”

Published:
10 Mar 2000
Report cover showing a harvester gathering grain

Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food: the Arable Area Payments Scheme

Sir John Bourn, head of the National Audit Office, today reported to Parliament on the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food’s administration of the Arable Area Payments Scheme*. This is the largest European Union Common Agricultural Policy scheme in England with payments of £1.1 billion each year to some 47,000 farmers. The report examines the … Read more

Published:
19 Feb 1999