Bass – what has been agreed for 2018?

Catch and Release is allowed for all 2018.

Catch & Eat angling: the full position for 2018 is as yet unknown, there has been no
political agreement regarding public bass angling landings in the second half of
2018.

We suspect that many people who have read the Council decision have concluded
that the public will not be able to catch & eat a bass in 2018. However, the truth is
that the decision has been postponed until March/April 2018.

The petition and your emails and letters to MPs, George Eustice and other EU
Fisheries Ministers have had a real impact. The EU Member States are now fighting
hard to allow the public to catch & eat bass in 2018 and they only agreed to the EU
Commission’s proposal on the condition that the matter is reviewed again in
March/April.

“In the light of the results of the ICES benchmarking exercise to be completed in
March 2018, the Commission will examine the possibility of authorising the landing
of one bass per person per day for a limited period of time.”

Why March/April? Because the general consensus is that the scientists need more
time to finish a benchmarking exercise so that we have a more accurate picture of
the bass stock and the levels of bass mortality from commercial fishing and public
angling.

We believe the ICES advice in November has overstated bass mortality from public
sea angling (particularly from Catch & Release angling) and underestimated bass
mortality from commercial fishing. We are discussing this with ICES and hope the
revised scientific advice will make it possible for the EU Commission to agree to the
Member States’ demands that the public should have some provision to catch & eat
bass in 2018.

The measures agreed have reduced catching opportunities for all commercial gear
types with gill nets reduced from 250kg per month to 1.2 tonnes per year, trawls
and seines down from 3% to 1% by-catch with a lower cap and commercial hooks
& lines down from 10 tonnes to 5 tonnes per year.

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