Angling Trust secures support for bass conservation from Minister
As you may have heard, just when I thought I’d escaped, the Angling Trust sent me back to the party political conferences. My job was to make the case for fishing and to take the political temperature on the issues that are important to anglers. By smiling nicely and being in the right place at the right time I also managed to secure exclusive interviews for our house magazine ‘The Angle’ with some of the politicians who matter most to us anglers including my former parliamentary neighbour and Fisheries Minister Richard Benyon who had some encouraging things to say about bass conservation.
The Trust has been working closely with our colleagues in Bass Anglers Sportsfishing Society (BASS) on resurrecting the case for an increase in the minimum landing size of bass from 36cms to 48cms to protect spawning stocks. Bass don’t spawn until they are a minimum of 42 cms and often larger. The current mls is simply insane and explains why UK bass stocks are declining.
I asked Richard Benyon this straightforward question and was delighted with his reply. Take a look..
AT….Are you sympathetic to campaigns for bass conservation and better protection for our estuaries?
RB…I have this old fashioned view that creatures should be allowed to breed at least once before we seek to harvest them for food. That’s why I authorised the review of the current bass minimum landing size and we shall have to see what that throws up. I do recognise that estuaries are special environments and can be important as spawning and nursery areas. I am always open to arguments on how we can better protect important habitats and that includes our estuaries.
My view is that the minister can’t say fairer than that at this stage. We were delighted to have secured the Defra review of the bass mls at our meeting with Benyon earlier in the year. This was in part thanks to the great support we have received from our friend John Quinlan of Irish Bass who told the minister just how much their recreational bass fishery is worth to the struggling Irish economy. A staggering 15 million Euros a year. The UK figure would be many times more and when compared with the figure for commercial UK bass landings of around £6 million you see how powerful the economic case becomes.
Remember there’s a two fish bag limit and the mls is about to rise to 50cms so you’ll be putting a fair few back – as we all should !