Bringing bass back to the agenda

Back in January, I welcomed emergency measures taken to protect sea bass during the crucial spawning season.

But the fact that we had to resort to reactive emergency measures also served as a reminder that we need real, long-term, preemptive, evidence-based policy-making for sea bass fishing.

That’s why, this week, the European Parliament voted in favour of a resolution, put forward by the Fisheries Committee on which I serve, which calls precisely for this. In particular, we asked the European Commission to draft a multiannual management plan for sea bass stocks, which Parliament could then adopt as soon as possible.

A multiannual management plan, using improved data on bass stocks, should provide more relevant mechanisms to safeguard the stock. Without such a plan, there would be a risk of having to resort to emergency measures each year — or worse, total stock collapse (which would kill the industry completely).

I’m happy to have supported this resolution and I’m now looking forward to working on the legislation that the European Commission will propose, so that we can finally have a long term solution for sea bass.

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  1. So you’re supporting the restriction of anglers against the advice of the European Anglers Alliance without getting any scientific evidence (if you read the scientific reports you’ll understand the lack of data…and the reasons for it). You’re also supporting a TAC that’ll hammer UK commercial fishermen and hand the majority share of bass fishing in UK waters to the French?

    With an election coming up?

    Are you simple? Or, do you think that 4 million anglers and their friends and families (not to mention the commercial fishermen) plus the housewife that might like to buy the odd bass for tea are going to thank you for stopping British people from eating bass and handing our allowances to the French….let alone vote for you?

  2. would you be kind enough to explain what measures you have voted for , ie.
    TAC / demersal fishing restrictions / under 10m restrictions / recreational sea angler restrictions / bag limits / size limits or slot sizes / grandfather rights .

    what do you expect the measures you have supported will achieve , and what evidence do you have for your expectation ,

    what sources have you used to ascertain the current levels of bass around the UK , and what approximate tonnage is the total biomass of bass around the UK .

    sincerely , D .Blethyn

  3. More data? Sounds like a stalling measure, need more action now. Industry sounds a bit too commercial to me. Simple 48cm limit recreational and commercial. Stop fishing for spawning fish permanently. Listen to current scientific advise, act now.

  4. May i ask when you consulted the approximate 1 million recreational anglers in the UK to form the opinion “Anglers will accept the limitations, so long as they are not the only ones making sacrifices” ?
    I do not recall ever being asked as an angler what my opinion was. Anyone that cares to examine ICES very own data will see at first hand it is flawed in the extreme. The very first thing that needs to be done is to increase research on bass, probably the most data deficient species of commercial interest in EU waters .
    Given the prevailing natural conditions it is very likely the last two years will have witnessed the highest recruitment of bass in the last thirty years. Spawning stock bio mass as measured by ICES is around the highest level in the last thirty years.
    As is typical with EU legislation we are seeing kneejerk reactions resulting in not fit for purpose legislation. Remember this is the same EU that has presided over the disaster that is the common fisheries policy, their track record does not fill me with hope they can get bass management correct.

    • Stunning observations Robert, I couldn’t agree more!

      One would think that, as a million stakeholders that push so much money into the UK economy, we might be asked our opinion at least!

  5. What do you propose doing about the black market for bass, and closing the loophole where recreational anglers/netters etc can legally sell catch….How do you currently account for this with regards to assimilating data relating to landings ?

    • I don’t know what Richard intends doing about it Martyn but I do know a little about the unrecorded landings!

      ICES, realising that there was an amount of unrecorded bass landings, multiplied the small boat catch by a factor of three and incorporated it into their latest statistical model (the one that shows the “parlous state” of bass stocks and came up with the result that the total bass stocks in UK waters would INCREASE!!!, mortalityof bass would DECREASE!!!! overall and that recruitment could INCREASE!!!!!

      Now that is absolutely remarkable, and just goes to show Martyn that the more bass you remove from the sea the more bass will appear in the sea and, therefore, fewer bass will die and obviously, they’ll lay more eggs!

      Now, this is proper, professional science here, not anecdotal stuff and, is calculated using exactly the same statistical methods as that used to restrict anglers because we take so many bass to eat.

      The same science that MPs trot out every time they hear the word bass……but always seem to forget the above calculation because it’s…well…silly! Any MP worth his salt would pick up on this odd calculation and investigate it….so obviously that won’t happen!

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