Can you please sign the petition below to save our Bass
Reason to sign the petition
Bass stocks in Britain and Europe are in trouble and urgent action is needed to conserve and rebuild the remaining spawning populations. The decline is the result of increased commercial overfishing since 1985 – not recreational sea angling (RSA).
- Estimates as to the impact of recreational angling on bass stocks vary from 10% to 25% of all landings. Recent evidence from CEFAS and the Eastern IFCA illustrates how ‘official’ commercial landings data is massively understated suggests that the figure is much closer to 10% and many anglers would argue that it is even lower.
- Organisations like the National Federation of Sea Anglers, now part of the Angling Trust, and the Bass Anglers Sportfishing Society (B.A.S.S.) have been campaigning for the introduction of bass conservation measures for more than 20 years. Things looked hopeful in 2004 when the Net Benefits report by the Cabinet Office recommended that fishery managers look at making bass a recreational-only species. This was followed up by the publication of a Bass Management Plan by B.A.S.S. in October 2004.
- Sadly, the reports stayed on the shelf, bass stocks continued to be over fished and the unsustainable minimum size limit of 36cm remained in place until last year’s long overdue rise to 42 cm – the absolute smallest size at which bass reach maturity and are able to reproduce.
- Scientific advice issued by the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES) in June 2014 recommended an 80% cut in bass mortality across the EU area for 2015. This followed the 2013 advice for a 36% cut which was ignored. In 2014 bass landings by UK vessels rose by 30% (from 772 tonnes to 1,004 tonnes).
- Current stock biomass in North Atlantic fishery is now estimated to be 7,320 tonnes, well below the ‘B-lim’ of 8,075 tonnes, at which future regeneration becomes critically endangered.
- Sea bass are an iconic sporting species, a top target for anglers with a recreational value of £200m to the economy. Thirty years ago bass were considered primarily a recreational species and were subject to very little commercial harvesting. [MAFF 1987].
- Commercial Hook and Line fishing is more sustainable and allows undersized (and oversized) fish to be returned. It accounts for around 20% of all bass caught commercially in the UK. However, this figure is likely to have decreased following last year’s increase in the bass minimum landing size.
- Following the failure to reach agreement at the European Fisheries Council meeting in December 2014 the EU took the unusual step of introducing a series of welcome emergency measures which were confirmed at the Fisheries and Aquaculture Committee meeting on Friday January 23rd 2015. These included a new minimum landing size of 42cms and a ban on the trawling of spawning aggregations in order to help save declining bass stocks in the English Channel, Southern North Sea and Irish and Celtic Seas.
- The UK secured some success in leading on the introduction of the 2015 package of emergency measures to protect bass stocks. However, the situation has continued to deteriorate. ICES advice for 2016 recommended catches of no more than 541 tonnes – effectively a 90% reduction on 2014. The 2015 measures are estimated to have reduced catches by only 36% – the EC accept they simply didn’t go far enough – and it is now clear that the neither did those adopted for 2016 which included increase in vessel catch limits for inshore gill net and hook and line commercial boats.
PLEASE, SIGN THE PETITION………..