In October of 2012 ICES* reported to the EU Commission on its assessment of a number of fish stocks, including turbot and bass. The report confirmed the fears that many have shared – Fishing mortality on bass is increasing and the stock-spawning biomass (the breeding stock) is decreasing.
However, when ICES recently presented the latest bass stock information to the EU Commission on 22nd May 2013, which portrayed a deepening crisis, it seems the EU Commission where shocked into wanting to take urgent action and Defra’s plans are likely to be postponed with the EU action plan taking priority.
We see the increase in the MLS for bass as a key technical measure which should be introduced immediately to ensure most bass have the opportunity to spawn at least once. And we will be pressing the Minister to do all that he can to ensure that this time around the Commission does not shirk its responsibilities to uphold its own legal requirements of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, or to maximise economic return from bass. Doing nothing has been tried before and it clearly hasn’t worked.
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