The EU’s own scientists most recent report on bass stocks stated landings need to be reduced by 80% to prevent stock collapse. The limited data that exists suggests however that the 2015 80% reduction figure was passed less than a quarter of the way into the year!
So to summarise 2015 to date:
- Bass landings have piled higher and higher; while remaining stocks dwindle further.
- The commercial fishing sector continues to lobby against reductions; while politicians and fisheries managers fail to agree effective measures to save our bass.
The bass stocks are not the property of a few commercial fishermen but a resource belonging to us all. Millions of us sea anglers in Europe remain rightly outraged and we need to continue to demand the decision makers act NOW to save our bass.
The ICES recommendation for the 80% reduction was for an area that includes the Celtic Sea, English Channel, and North Sea. To achieve the reduction here total landing needed to be 1155 Tonnes (including recreational angling caught fish!) Precise landing data on the UK, French and Dutch areas this applies to is however not readily available, as there seems no transparent catch data out there. We have requested that the EU makes such data readily available on a monthly basis but to no avail as yet … the lack of this data hardly demonstrates transparency in the EUs workings!
At BASS we freely admit therefore that we are relying on proxy measurements to judge landings, but these strongly indicate landings are barely down – let alone by 80%. Bass landings in France alone show more than 1155 tonnes was landed before 23rd of March (http://www.lepecheurresponsable.com/media/kunena/attachments/63/BAR_S12.pdf) – and this figure does not even take into account the 25% of the total that anglers are reckoned to contribute (undoubtedly a huge overestimate). With this figure removed the commercial total annual bass landing figure should be a mere 866 tonnes!
Recreational sea angling is worth far more to the economy than commercial fishing (e.g. http://www.ukbass.com/the-economic-worth-of-english-sea-angling-compared-to-commercial-fishing-the-difference-is-startling/ ) but we’ve taken our hit with a 3 bass per day bag limit that was announced in March. Yet it’s the commercials still take the vast majority of the fish and continue to push the stock levels into crisis without ongoing restriction now the tempoary mid water trawl ban ended in April. Whatever date the total was passed we cannot be sure without propper data, but the bottom line is the restriction on commercial boats to date has been completely ineffective and meaningful protection of our bass still remains a distant prospect.
The 2015 ICES assessment of our bass stocks is due in June. Hopefully this will give an indication to any changes in total bass landings and overall stocks. Given the ongoing levels of landings, its almost certain the report will not predict a happy future for our remaining bass if things don’t change.
So demand that the decision makers finally introduce measures that properly protect our bass and bring about the full 80% landing in reductions needed to save our bass. It doesn’t matter if we’ve written several times before or if we are doing it for the first time; it’s continuing weight of numbers that ultimately counts. Also emails (or letters) can be short and sweet or detailed – What counts most is that we write and demand they save our bass.
Those we suggest you might email (or send a letter to) include:
firstname.lastname@example.org (Director EU Maritime Affairs and Fisheries):
email@example.com (European Commissioner Maritime Affairs & Fisheries);
firstname.lastname@example.org (George Eustice – Fisheries Mininster (just reappointed = good news we think);
Your own MPs and MEPs – find them here https://www.writetothem.com
Plus various other relevant EU politiians and fisheries managers you could also contact …
Many thanks again!!
Blogged by Matt Spence