Let Our Bass Breed

Last week representatives from the Bass Anglers Sportfishing Society joined MPs from the All Party Parliamentary Angling Group in an Angling Trust organised delegation to Fisheries Minister Richard Benyon to press the case for sustainable size limits for bass in order to allow the fish to breed at least once and for stocks to replenish. UK bass stocks at many locations are showing an alarming decline with recent poor recruitment years and over fishing of juvenile fish which are harvested well before they have had an opportunity to breed.

Full press release here: Let Our Bass Breed

Nigel Horsman from BASS commented:

“Whilst the economic case for making this change is clear and undeniable, it is more important that we do this for the bass themselves.

Harvesting fish before they have had a chance to breed would normally be considered at least unwise, but with bass stocks severely depleted due to overfishing and poor recruitment over many years, made much worse by recent cold winters killing off baby bass in their inshore nursery areas, carrying on doing that via the current mls is utter madness.

We must raise the mls so the fish have at least one chance to breed before it is too late.”

Martin Salter from the Angling Trust said:

” Preventing the exploitation of bass until they have had at least one chance to spawn and replace themselves in the stocks not only passes the common sense test, but also meets with good sustainable fishery management practice.
The Angling Trust supports increasing the minimum landing size to 48cm in order to start to increase stock numbers and average sizes, which have fallen alarmingly in recent years.”

George Hollingbery MP and Vice Chairman of the APPG on Angling added:

“A move to a 48cm minimum landing size for bass makes all the sense in the world.  We cannot hope to continue exploiting the population in a way that removes fish from the system before they have had a chance to breed.
It has taken Ireland 20 years to begin to recover from disastrous over-exploitation. We have the chance to do something before we reach that stage and for the sake of commercial fishermen, recreational anglers and the economies of some of the most marginal areas of the country, we have to do it now.”

The delegation outside defra offices London. From left: John Quinlan, Chairman of the Irish Bass Protection Group, Nigel Horsman and Ian Misselbrook from the Bass Anglers Sportsfishing Society, Charles Walker MP and George Hollingbery MP.

Nigel Horsman (left) and Martin Salter (right) present Fisheries Minister Richard Benyon with the proposals.