Seabass Stocks Around The UK Coastlines Are Below Critical

Fisheries scientists have recently reported that stocks of seabass around the North European and UK coastlines have fallen below the critical level which guarantees recovery.

Advice from the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES) for 2017 says: “ICES advises that when the precautionary approach is applied, there should be zero catch (commercial and recreational) in 2017.”

So, what now? There is a call to cease all bass netting and make Catch and Release imperative. The decline in stocks has resulted from increased commercial overfishing since 1985, not from recreational fishing.

Martin Salter, national Campaigns Coordinator for the Angling Trust said: “The politicians have only themselves to blame and their blatantly political decision taken last year, in contravention of clear scientific advice, to grant a four-month exemption and larger vessel catch limits to inshore gill netters and hook and liners from the proposed six-month bass moratorium, which was unfair, irresponsible and inflicted further damage on already threatened bass stocks.”

In a bid to rectify the problems the UK and Northern European seabass are facing, the Angling Trust and BASS are seeking a meeting urgently with UK Fisheries Minister George Eustice to discuss the government’s response to the advice that has been given on the matter.

Nigel Horsman from BASS said: “This is a sad day for bass stocks and for all those thousands of anglers who take so much pleasure from catching bass. We can only hope that our fishery managers and politicians learn from their mistakes and heed the lessons from other countries, such as the USA, who have faced similar situations. It is imperative that no risks are taken with the ability of the remaining bass stock to mount a recovery. But, provided we do that now, I am hopeful that bass stocks will recover. But we must also fix the underlying cause of the current problem which is commercial overfishing on a grand scale.”