The long awaited advice for bass was issued today by ICES (the EU’s own scientist advising on fish stocks). They included recommendations for our area of the central and south North Sea, the Irish Sea, the English Channel, the Bristol Channel and the Celtic Sea.

The ICES figures are the key data that informs us all to changes in the bass stock and dictates the extent of management measures that are needed. Their headline advice is:

“ICES advises that when the MSY approach if applied, total landings (commercial and recreational) in 2016 should be no more than 541 tonnes”

“ICES advises that a management plan is urgently needed to develop and implement measures to substantially reduce fishing mortality throughout the range of the stock”

(See here for full ICES 2016 bass figures and advice)

So what can we deduct from this? Well a quick look at the figures show that ICES calculates 2700 tonnes of bass were landed commercially in this area in 2014.

Given the working assumption of ICES (rightly or wrongly!) is 30% of bass are taken by anglers, then 810 tonnes of bass are taken by anglers giving a total of 3510 tonnes bass landed by commercials and anglers.

To go from 3510 tonnes total bass landings (estimate) in 2014 to the maximum sustainable yield of 541 tonnes ICES states is needed in 2016 a reduction in bass landings of almost 85% is needed.

The EU and UK have shown a willingness to act in the past year YET the latest regulations in no way get near achieving this reduction. The bottom line is the stock is still in decline and the efforts of politicians and fisheries managers to halt the decline are clearly failing.

We need drastic action NOW to save our bass. Please demand that the EU and the UK governments ensure maximum sustainable yield advice is followed in full in 2016.

Bass angling generates more income to the economy and takes far fewer fish. Surely its now time to make the bass fishery recreation only.

All who care about our bass will I am sure have an opinion of these latest ICES figures.  For the sake of our bass and our future angling PLEASE write and express your view to:

bernhard.friess@ec.europa.eu (Director EU Maritime Affairs and Fisheries):

karmenu.vella@ec.europa.eu (European Commissioner Maritime Affairs & Fisheries);

defra.helpline@defra.gsi.gov.uk (George Eustice –  Fisheries Mininster)

AND also write to your MP. You can find them here: https://www.writetothem.com

 

Blogged by Matt Spence

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