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EU propose complete ban for bass

EU propose complete ban for bass

Above: A six-month ban on bass fishing for both commercial and recreational fishing?

The latest EU sea bass landing recommendations have been reduced to such an extent that Brussels is proposing a "complete fishing ban for commercial vessels and recreational anglers in the first half of 2016".

Within the EU's recommendations for fishing in the Atlantic and North Sea the proposal states that landing of sea bass should be reduced from 2,656 tonnes (estimate) to 1,449 tonnes, a reduction of 46% in order to: "halt the dramatic decline of this important stock".

In addition to the complete ban from January to June, the EU is recommending a one-fish bag limit on rod-and-line anglers, whilst trawlers will be limited to taking one tonne per month from July until December 2016.

Ironically, the move comes after anglers have been pressurising  the EU and member states to take the issue of bass stocks and commercial fishing seriously. Recently, the Angling Trust briefed UK Fisheries Minister, George Eustice, on the need for further restrictions on commercial fishing of bass.

"Anglers have been warning about commercial fishing causing a decline in bass stocks for the last 20 years and it is only recently the European Commission and the Member States have started taking the issue seriously. Whilst we welcome the proposals to further restrict the commercial harvesting of bass it is monstrously unfair to lump all forms of bass fishing together", said an Angling Trust press release.

It explained that the differences between a trawler dragging a huge net across an ocean and a weekend rod-and-line angler fishing sustainably within agreed size and bag limits (as is presently the case) were so wide that the Trust "intends to tell the Commission it is picking on the wrong target".

Weymouth-based bass guide, Tony King, told FF&FT, "The early season ban will have an effect on boats that go after the early season schoolies, but I welcome the proposals because at least the EU are prepared to doing something about it. I'm a great supporter of restricting fishing because I've witnessed the demise of not only bass but also mackerel stocks since I started guiding here 12 years ago".

The European Anglers Alliance has already identified a technical detail in the Commission's proposals which make it unclear whether the ban on fishing from January to June 2016 applies to rod-and-line anglers. The Angling Trust is awaiting clarification from the Commission.

David Mitchell, Angling Trust's Marine Campaigns manager is to meet with colleagues at BASS (Bass Anglers' Sportfishing Society) and other partners in recreational fishing to construct a response to the proposals, which "will focus on trying to ensure all sectors contribute to conservation of bass stocks in a more balanced and proportionate way", to be delivered in December's meeting of the Council of Ministers. "… we expect the Commission's original proposals to be substantially amended" he concluded.EU propose complete ban for bass

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