2017 Update

Hear Us Roar!

2016 will be remembered as the year when we, the public, found our voice and united with determination to defend our bass stocks and our bass angling. Anglers, guides, tackle shops, tackle suppliers, and the angling press and media – all coming together to demand a sustainable bass fishery and a fair deal for our access to a Public Good.

Thanks to your efforts, we have won an incredible victory and point of principle: it is now illegal for anyone except the public and the commercial hook and line fishermen to target sea bass in Northern Europe above the 48th parallel.

If the law is rigorously enforced (and that’s a big “if” for a few reasons), it means sea bass should be largely protected from unsustainable fishing by pair trawlers, bottom trawlers, fixed netters, drift netters and seine netters.

But our Fisheries Minister, George Eustice, desperately wanted to give fixed netters an allowance to target bass. Despite the stock being in serious trouble. Despite the scientists recommending zero landings for 2017. Despite fixed netting being unsustainable. And so, the political fudge for 2017 is an all-year round “unavoidable by-catch” allowance. It is impossible to enforce and makes it easy for fixed netters to continue to target bass by pretending they are fishing for other species, even during the spawning season. A complete disgrace.

And the unfairness for the public, and the businesses dependent on our fishing, continues. Because the stock is in trouble, the public cannot take a bass for the table between January and June – so why are commercials able to land and sell bass in the same period? Why do Fisheries Ministers think it is acceptable to allow commercials to exploit the bass fishery for profit when the public fishery is closed?

So, the fight continues – in 2017 we must finish the job of getting fixed nets out of the bass fishery and we must make sure that closures are closures for everyone, not just for the public.

Watch this space for details of how to get involved and make a difference in 2017.

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