The Bass Anglers’ Sportfishing Society (BASS) supported by the National Federation of Sea Anglers (NFSA) met with Fisheries Minister Ben Bradshaw on Tuesday 5 April 2005 prior to the Government being dissolved.

The meeting took place at the invitation of the Minister to progress a package of conservation measures contained within the Bass Management Plan to realise ‘Best Return’ from the sea bass resource, in line with the recommendations contained within the Cabinet Office Strategy Unit Report ‘Net Benefits’ and supported by the EFRA Committee.

The Minister supports anglers plans for ‘more and bigger’ bass and instructed Defra staff to prepare draft legislation for the incoming administration following the general election.

1. Increased minimum landing size.

2. Near-shore netting restrictions.

3. Increased minimum mesh sizes.

4. Seasonal spawning closures.

5. Bag limits for recreational anglers.

John Leballeur, Chairman of BASS, stated he was delighted with the outcome, which came at the 11th hour of this Government. This is the first step in recognition that over a million recreational sea anglers currently contribute in excess of £500 million to the economy of England & Wales and that ‘more & bigger bass’, a favourite species for anglers, will contribute to the development of the recreational sector. BASS believe that their proposals will also benefit commercial hook & line fishermen who target far more valuable larger bass, but the main economic benefits to the UK will come from the development of a world class Sport Fishery.