9-9-17: Save Our Seabass campaign for 2018.
Received from Bass Anglers Sportfishing Society (BASS):-
Who Do You Think You Are Kidding Mr Eustice?
In January, BASS wrote about the grubby politics of the December 2016 Fishing Opportunities meeting. In the run-up to the meeting, we told Defra and George Eustice that there were two things that would make public sea anglers back home see red:
Commercial fishermen being able to land bass during the first 6 months, when public sea anglers are not allowed to take a bass for the table; and
Paying lip-service to our “Get the nets out” campaign, but undermining it with a targeting allowance dressed up as a by-catch allowance.
BASS made it clear that, if there had to be a by-catch allowance for fixed netters, it should be 3% of their catch, the same as for demersal trawlers and seiners – a true bycatch allowance.
Although the Fisheries Ministers did make it illegal for fixed netters to target bass, they cynically undermined this by creating an 250kg monthly allowance for “unavoidable by-catches” of bass, knowing full well that fixed netters would be able to continue to target bass and pretend they were caught as by-catch. Indeed, the UK Government initially tried to say it had agreed an allocation for fixed netters, before the EU Commission told them where to get off.
BASS said in January that we were waiting for an explanation from the Marine Management Organisation of how it would approach the impossible job of enforcing an unenforceable “unavoidable by-catches” allowance. But any sympathy we might have had for the MMO’s predicament has vanished, for two reasons:
They wrote to fixed netters telling them: “The vessel named below is authorised to fish for bass using the gears specified” (our emphasis). If the law says that fixed netters cannot target bass, what on earth is the MMO doing telling them that they can fish for bass? The MMO has refused to correct this.
We were told that they were going to operate a percentage of catch policy, to distinguish targeting from by-catch. But in July, IFCA officers told us they hadn’t received any guidance from the MMO. And the MMO would not tell us or commercial fishermen what percentage of catch they were going to use. What a shambolic way to run a fishery, leaving commercial fishermen to guess what percentage of catch would be treated as “unavoidable by-catches” rather than illegal targeting.
Of course, the reality is that fixed netters are completely ignoring this, because they know it would be virtually impossible to prove that they were targeting bass and not something else. To date, we are not aware of any commercial fixed netter having been accused by the MMO of targeting bass. And yet the landing data shows that fixed net bass landings are actually increasing, not decreasing! Defra estimated fixed netting landings for the whole of 2017 would be 43 tonnes, but by the end of June alone, they were already 52 tonnes and we estimate that by the end of the year they will be up 240%.
But the hook & liners’ 10 tonnes per annum allowance takes the absolute biscuit for Fisheries Ministers treating public sea anglers as complete mugs. When we checked the landing data, we found that in 2015 and 2016, not one single UK hook and line vessel had caught more than 10 tonnes in a year. The restriction that never was!
Does all this make you mad as hell? It should do! Public sea anglers are happy to do their bit to restore the stock, but not while commercial fishermen are either untouched or can exploit deliberately-created loop-holes.
You have until 14th September to tell the EU Commission how disgusted you are by this duplicity, so please reply to the consultation now by going to:- Bass petition to EU
12-8-17: Live Wrasse Commercial Fishery:
18-2-17 BASS: (sorry for delay in posting this)
Due to an unfortunate lack of support from other EU member states for the recommendations detailed below, the following restrictions apply for 2017:-
All "Recreational Fishers" including Recreational Sea Anglers are limited to a zero daily bag limit up to June 30th followed by a 1 fish per day bag limit from 1st July.
The big success however is that specifically targetting Bass with any form of net is totally prohibited. The only legal method of commercial targetting of Bass is now by hook & line, no other.
The commercials have a much reduced allowance for accidental catches of Bass in nets but they must be seen to be primarily targetting other species.
ICES has recommended zero take of Bass in 2017 across all sectors.
Not surprisingly the EU is proposing to allow some catches.
Their current proposals are as follows but these are just proposals at this stage & may well fall foul of the commercial lobby who refuse to recognise the level of damage they are doing to the stock:-
February & March: Catch & Release only
January and April to December: landing up to 10 bass per month conditional on electronic recording
Commercial Hook & Line fishermen:
February & March: no landings
January and April to December: up to 10 tonnes per year.
Commercial demersal trawls and seines:
By-catch up to 1% of total catch in a single day
Limited to 1 tonne per month
The requirement for anglers to record Bass captures on line in exchange for a monthly bag limit is a big worry as this could lead to even more requirements for anglers to record catches. This requirement was proposed by angling bodies as an additional option to run in parallel with a daily bag limit with anglers choosing what option to go for. It was never intended to totally replace the daily bag limit. This will need to be subject of further discussion.
6-7-16: Latest from Angling Trust see Angling Trust on ICES advice for 2017
2-7-16: Due to ongoing over fishing, ICES has just issued advice that there should be zero take of Bass during 2017. No doubt the commercial sector's short term greed will result in them fighting against this but it seems fairly certain that if they are allowed to continue catching Bass in 2017 but there is an attempt to prevent anglers taking even a single fish then anglers are likely to disregard any such restriction.
See also More info
For the AT thoughts on the implications for general EU fishing restrictions see AT notes on EU restrictions
12-6-16: Alex Maydew , president of University of Southampton Angling Society is conducting a survey with the University of Southampton as part of a postgraduate research project, with the aim of determining the response of sea anglers to the newly implemented seabass regulations. As part of his data collection, he is hoping that anglers will take part in an online survey to tell him how they feel about the new regulations, but also if/how they will change their behaviour because of the regulations. To participate go to Survey page. Also see their facebook page here f Sotn Uni Bass
12-2-16: Thank you to those who wrote requesting Andrew Turner MP to support RSA in parliamentary debate held on 11-2-16
Please go to the Forum page & look under National & European issues
For response from AT regarding the total rubbish response from government to the petition see
I am sure that we are all appalled at the new EU regulations on anglers introduced about Bass.
If you feel strongly about it, then rather than sitting back & expecting someone else to fight your cause for you, please consider signing the petition below requesting the government to restrict gill netting & apply the same Bass restrictions to all as those applied to anglers.
It just requires your name, postcode & a valid email address.
On signing you will be sent one email with a link you need to click on to complete the process.
His family has asked for donations to the RNLI in memory of Tony rather than flowers.
A specific donation page has been set up at
30-12-15: Sad news:
Angling stalwart Tony Williams has died after losing a battle with lung cancer.
His services to recreational sea angling will be sorely missed.
19-12-15: Anglers have been totally shafted by the UK government & EU who have given in to misleading & erroneous pressure from the commercial sector that has actually been responsible for the vast increase in Bass mortality over recent years resulting in the imminent collapse of the entire stock. See Anglers shafted by EU
Regrettably the Angling Trust received very little support from rank & file anglers for its campaigns to try to obtain equitable treatment in the Bass conservation restrictions just agreed by the EU.
This highlights that if rank & file anglers sit back, do nothing & expect others to resolve issues on their behalf then more & more unfavourable outcomes are inevitable.
1-8-15: Alan Deeming became aware that part of the proposal to redevelope the area round the Red Funnel ferry terminal at East Cowes would involve Red Funnel preventing access to the only public slipway on the East side of Cowes harbour. He submitted a response to the consultation expressing his grave concerns at this loss & requested that a suitable alternative be provided prior to Red Funnel being allowed to deny access to the current slipway. He has successfully gained the support of a local councillor who has agreed to push for a suitable alternative to be provided.
For details of the redevelopment see Red Funnel stealing public slipway
10-11-15: Advice re legal aspects on access to foreshore now added to Our Work - Other
12-7-15: Malcolm Knight has sent us 2 messages about issues relating to bait digging at both East Cowes & in the Medina near Island Harbour. (Both messages have been responded to by email). Legal restrictions on bait digging exist at East Cowes, Ryde Sands & a number of other areas of the Island's Solent coast. See the Byelaws section under Our Work for more details. Regretably still no warning/information signs have been installed at these areas. Malcolm also reported an incident of a digger being warned off from digging in the river near Island Harbour. We would be interested to hear if anyone else has had the same experience.( Message Alan Deeming please). We believe that digging there is legal but Island Harbour would be within its right to not allow bait diggers to park on its property so access to the foreshore would need to be gained via public footpath to be totally legal.
2-7-15: The EU has today raised the minimum size for Bass to 42cms for all fishers both commercial & recreational effective from September.
The Angling Trust minimum being larger is not affected.
Please see AT news: Bass min size raised
21-6-2015. Save Our Sea Bass
B.A.S.S. has created a new website called "Save Our Sea Bass.org" http://www.saveourseabass.org/ that aims to focus the concerns that many people across Europe have about the sad state of the sea bass population and convert them into effective action over a sustained period to get things changed for the better. In particular, the website encourages people to get their voices heard by sending emails directly to the decision-makers (whose email addresses are provided).
B.A.S.S. will also be creating a series of petitions under the "Save Our Sea Bass" banner, focused on exerting pressure on the most urgent issues at any moment. The first of these petitions has just been launched and deals with the recent EU proposals for Vessel Catch Limits and an increase in the Minimum Conservation Reference Size to 42cm. These proposals will be decided in Brussels in the next few days and weeks and the petition is aimed at the EU fisheries Ministers who will make those decisions.