The public consultation process by Defra and the Welsh Assembly Government to increase the minimum landing size (mls) of bass and appropriate commercial net mesh size, is well underway. The closing date for responses to Defra is 8 february 2006 and for those responses to the Welsh Assembly Government the closing date is 14 february 2006.[NB – full details of the Defra consultation and the Welsh Assembly Government are available on this web site]

For those of you who are yet to respond, here is an example letter together with a few ideas, in addition to those that can be found on the how you can help web page:-

For responses to Defra – Address your letter to:-

Ms Nicola Clarke
Coastal Waters Policy Branch
Defra
Area 7E
3-8 Whitehall Place
London SW1A 2HH

For responses to the Welsh Assembly Government – address your letter to:-

Mrs Hannah Hess
Welsh Assembly Government
ECM Fisheries
Government Buildings CP2
Cathays Park
Cardiff CF10 3NQ

Ref: CONSULTATION ON MEASURES TO INCREASE THE NUMBER AND SIZE OF BASS AVAILABLE TO COMMERCIAL AND RECREATIONAL FISHERMEN

I am writing to express my total support for Option 2 of the proposal to increase the bass minimum landing size from 36 cms to 45 cms. This will ensure that bass stocks will enjoy protection to breeding size and help to offset any poor spawning years.

I also support the proposal to increase the minimum mesh sizes of nets used to catch bass by licensed commercial fishermen from 90mm to 110mm, in line with the conclusions of scientific advice and to ensure minimal bycatch of bass and other species below the revised MLS.

You may also like to include a couple of the following:-

  • where you fish and how long you have enjoyed angling
  • the fact that you spend a lot of your spare cash on tackle, bait, travel etc.
  • that more and bigger bass will encourage you to fish more often and for others to take up the sport
  • the revised MLS will directly benefit tackle dealers, charter boats, coastal tourism, boat manufacturers, angling guides and bait suppliers
  • and that other species like rays, conger, wrasse, mullet etc should all be afforded an MLS which ensures successful breeding
  • the revised MLS will benefit licenced commercial fishermen as bigger bass are more valuable
  • it must be undertaken that the new MLS should be enforced by enforcement agencies, if it is to be a success and that additional funding should be found for enforcement.
  • Defra/ the fisheries Minister should support current attempts by NFSA and BASS to pursuade the EU to adopt the 45cm MLS and other measures contained within the Bass Management Plan.

If you have any commercial involvement in bass angling, then please mention this in your letter. It demonstrates that it is not only those who catch and kill bass for profit, but also those who guide and provide tackle and services to anglers, who also derive their incomes from the bass resource.

[Please remember to Sign the letter and print your full name beneath your signature, as well as making sure your full address is legible so that Defra can acknowledge your response and include you in any further consultations.]

We are aware that there will be tremendous opposition from the commercial sector, so it is VERY IMPORTANT that there is an overwhelming response of support from the recreational sea angling sector for these proposals. Please tell your sea angling friends about the consultation and have a look at this web page for suggestions about how you can help.