The Science Group is continually scanning the scientific horizon, looking for research papers and other information relating to bass biology, which may be of relevance to anglers. We recently produced a paper “Methods of tracking bass” describing both traditional and more recent methods of following bass as they move around their underwater world.
Anglers ask how they can get involved in tagging. Given our resources, and the fact that Home Office approval and licensing may be necessary for this work, it is not feasible for BASS to run its own schemes. The best route is for anglers to get involved in such projects run by CEFAS or Universities, and through our contacts with these bodies, we are well placed to facilitate this.
One area where members could get involved is systematic catch recording. We are looking at a simplified, electronic version of the previous logbook scheme. Initial thoughts are to recruit one or two volunteers from each area who fish on a regular basis, and ask them to complete a google form (date of capture, length, County) for all their fish over the course of the year, taking scales from representative fish from each size group they encounter, to confirm the year class. This would inform members about the quality of fishing in each area, and support (or refute) year class estimates from ‘0’ group surveys. Such data would also be useful for campaigning purposes. Please let us know if you would be interested in taking part if this was to go ahead.
The Science Group monitors juvenile bass surveys, which assess the strength of successive year classes. This includes both CEFAS surveys, such as the Solent Survey, which informs the annual bass stock assessment, and local surveys, such as that carried out by Derek Goodwin’s team (with help from local BASS members) in Cornwall. We hope to do a write-up of this work, and the latest results, later in the year, possibly with some filming of the Cornwall surveys.
Joe Dawson, a PhD student from Exeter has approached us about helping to collect otoliths for his project looking at whether there are populations of adult bass which live mainly in estuaries. We should have more information about this in the coming months.
Several members helped with Tom Stamp’s iBASS project. Tom will be giving an update at the forthcoming AGM about his now-completed project, and some interesting developments and possible follow-up studies. Some of the fish tagged in the original project in Devon estuaries are being picked up by receivers on the opposite side of the SW peninsula, and on the Gower.
We have had preliminary discussions with Portsmouth University regarding setting up a project for a postgraduate student to look at whether bass accumulate toxins with age. Unfortunately, Covid has forced the University to stop all research projects for the time being.
We are currently updating the system BASS uses for acquiring and processing scales received from members. Once the new systems are in place we will publicise these via the magazine. If any members would like to help in some way, or have any feedback on the existing arrangements, please contact the Science Group Lead (see inside back page of the BASS mag for contact details).
Given the current uncertainties around the Covid situation, it is not surprising that we still have no applicants for the BASS bursary.
If you would like to contribute to or join the group, please let us know – you don’t have to be a scientist, just interested in bass science.