AnglingTrust The voice of Angling


EU ministers to allow bass angling to continue as further measures announced to rebuild threatened bass stocks


David Mitchell at EU x550px
David Mitchell, Head of Marine at the Angling Trust, braving the snow and cold at the EU Council of Ministers Fishing Opportunities meeting to display Angling Trust and Save Our Sea Bass posters

After two days of tough negotiations over proposals from the European Commission that could have seen bass angling banned for the first six months of the year EU Fisheries ministers have announced the final measures for 2018.

This followed strong representations from the Angling Trust and representations from angling bodies and the tackle trade across Europe, including a 18,000 signature petition, calling for no further restrictions on recreational fishing for bass.

The package of measures for 2018 have been produced in response to advice from the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES) which shows that the Northern European bass stock is crashing. It was nearly 19,000 tonnes in 2010, but the forecast for 2018 is just 6,414 tonnes, a fall of two thirds. The stock is now well below the critical level of 8,075 tonnes (Blim), which means the future regeneration of the stock is now critically endangered and the stock may remain depleted for extended periods.

Anglers have argued that ministers need to address the prime cause which is commercial overfishing with nets rather than targeting the limited impact on the fishery from angling with hook and line.

Ministers announced this morning that catch and release angling for bass all year round can continue with the prospect of a recreational bag limit in the second half of 2018 depending on a data review of the updated ICES advice in March. (This was specifically pushed for by the UK delegation in response to our representations).

There will be further limits on commercial bass fishing as follows:

Fixed nets:
1.2t provision over 10 months (Feb-March closed).
– reduction of approx. 50 per cent on 2017 BUT now a provision rather than by-catch. Therefore likely to be more enforceable as the by catch allowance was being widely abused.

Demersal trawls and seines:
Bycatch down to 1 per cent of catch capped at 100kg for trawls and 180kg for seines per month over 12 months.
– reduction from 5 per cent and reduction of cap on 2017

Commercial Hooks & Lines:
5t per vessel per year over 10 months (Feb-March closed)
– reduction of 50 per cent on 2017.

The Angling Trust is pleased that commercial over fishing of bass numbers continues to be addressed but obviously disappointed with the extra restrictions on bass angling. However, overall the settlement looks like about the best we were going to get in the context of the ICES stock assessment of bass numbers.

David Mitchell, Head of Marine at the Angling Trust, said:
“We are pleased that the proposed six month ban recreational fishing for bass was rejected and members of the public will be able to continue to fish for bass in 2018 on a catch & release basis all year round. Charter skippers, bass angling guides and other businesses reliant on bass angling at least now have some certainty and can plan ahead for 2018.

"The UK government confirmed that the measures for recreational fishing will be reviewed in March when updated scientific advice will be issued which will take into account the impact of the restrictions on recreational fishing since 2015. We hope at this point that the impact of recreational fishing will have been reduced and there may be the leeway for a bag limit to be introduced in the second half of 2018.”

Contact: Angling Trust Eastwood House, 6 Rainbow Street, Leominster, Herefordshire HR6 8DQ
Tel: 0343 5077006 (For Membership enquiries select Option 1) |
Calls to our 0343 number are charged at the same rate as normal landline numbers.
Office hours are Mon - Thu 9.00-5.00 and Fri 4.30. Please leave a message if you call outside these hours or email us.
twitter_icon_large facebook_icon_large
Angling Trust Limited is a company limited by guarantee, company number 05320350

Site by Nemisys
Powered by FixturesLive