From the Labrax Squad website:
With sea bass stocks declining, ICES has advised concerned EU-member states to reduce catches. The Dutch government recently announced six technical measures to protect the bass. One of them being an increase in the minimum landing size from 36 to 42 cm for recreational anglers and professional handline fishermen.
As part of the North Sea region, the Netherlands have chosen to follow suit with the technical measures proposed by the UK. These measures aim to protect spawning bass and juvenile fish and to reduce fishing pressure. The English do so, among other things, by closing spawning grounds and nursery areas for commercial fishing. These territories have not yet been identified for the southern North Sea, so the Dutch measures do somewhat differ from the UK approach.
The six technical measures that state secretary Sharon Dijksma of Economic Affairs announced are:
- Phasing out pair trawling for sea bass. Fishing with bottom pair trawls is not allowed in the Eastern Channel from September to December 2014.
- A monthly limit of bass landings of 5.000 kg per vessel. The small-scale coastal fisheries in the North Sea have a 5.000 kg limit per vessel per year. These quantities cannot be transferred.
- An increase of the minimum landing size from 36 to 42 cm for recreational anglers and commercial handline fishermen.
- A ring around the handline fleet fishing for sea bass. Their number is limited to the professional handline fishermen that were active on June 6.
- A bag limit of 20 kg or 25 specimen of bass and cod for recreational anglers.
- All commercial catches, including discards, must be registered.
With this combination of measures the Netherlands are catching-up with other European countries when it comes to protecting sea bass stocks. These measures apply from the moment that the legal framework in which they are going to be embedded is ratified – which is supposed to be in the very near future. In the following months EU-countries will discuss more possible measures as part of a long term management plan for European sea bass.