We at Save Our Sea Bass are outraged by the recent EU Council of Ministers decisions on Sea Bass.

If you share this sense of outrage, we encourage you to join us and send an email to the EU Fisheries Ministers and Officials asking for a number of these measures to be urgently revised. Remember, you are a major stakeholder in the EU Sea Bass fishery – get your voice heard!

Please also consider joining B.A.S.S to support our fight to save the Sea Bass and to achieve recreational angling’s primacy in the Sea Bass fishery.

Please cut and paste the addresses below into the “To” line of your email. Then cut and paste the following (or your own message) into the body of the email and hit send!


Dear Fisheries Ministers and Fisheries Officials,

Sea Bass

I wrote to you prior to the 14/15 December EU Council of Ministers meeting asking for you to implement a range of measures to save the Sea Bass.

I am writing to you again to express my outrage at a number of extremely poor decisions and to demand that you immediately revise these decisions to respect the advice of the scientists and your legal requirement to give proper effect to Article 17 of the Common Fisheries Policy.

Article 17

The scientists have recommended landings of only 541 tonnes in 2016 and Article 17 requires you to allocate these based on a proper consideration of the environmental and socio-economic impact of each fishing method.

In my view, the only conclusion from such proper consideration would be that unselective and high impact fishing methods must be completely excluded from the fishery and that the fishery should consist of just recreational angling and commercial rod & line and hand lines, all carried out on a restricted and sustainable scale.

Article 17 – Fixed Gill Netting

I was very disappointed that the EU Commission’s proposals did not respect the obligation to implement Article 17. However, I was astonished and appalled that the EU Fisheries Ministers agreed that fixed gill netting (a highly unsustainable form of fishing that has been a major contributor to the destruction of the stock) should:

  1. be allowed to continue for 4 months of the moratorium; and
  2. have its vessel catch limit increased from 1.0 to 1.3 tonnes. Based on the UK 2014 landing data, this higher vessel catch limit will only restrict a paltry 5% of gill netting vessels.

You have justified these fixed gill netting reliefs by saying that fixed gill netting is “low impact” and “sustainable”. This simply isn’t true – fixed gill netting in the UK represented 42.3% of all Sea Bass landings in 2014 and kills juvenile bass, sea birds, seals and cetaceans.

Across the EU in 2014, gill netting represented 30% of all Sea Bass landings. I do not know what percentage of this was fixed netting, but in the UK 68% of all gill netting was fixed.

Regarding the argument that you are protecting jobs, this is an incredibly short-term view; by watering down the proposals you are increasing the risk of the stock failing and destroying the long-term jobs dependent upon it. Further, the New Economics Foundation has recently calculated that the drift and fixed nets have only a 20% dependency on bass fishing.

Article 17 – Catch & Eat Recreational Angling

I was also dismayed to see that recreational anglers who wish to catch and eat Sea Bass and who deliver much higher environmental and socio-economic benefits to society than commercial fishing, are to be treated less favourably than commercial fixed gill netting and hook and line fishing.

You are asking me to relinquish a fundamental right to catch a fish to feed my family and myself. I would gladly do so to help save the Sea Bass stock, if this were part of a package of measures impacting all fishing methods in proportion to their environmental and socio-economic impact. However, the measures that you have agreed do not meet this test and accordingly I do not accept that your decisions are either equitable or, indeed, legal.

Additionally, whilst you have justified your decision on fixed gill netting and hook & line fishing on the basis of protecting small-scale fishing jobs, you have completely failed to take account of the jobs and businesses dependent on recreational Catch & Eat Sea Bass fishing.

Bay of Biscay

You have failed to extend the measures to the Bay of Biscay, despite there being insufficient data to support it being managed as a separate stock and the high risk of displacement activity, for example from pair trawlers and gill netters on spawning and pre-spawning aggregations. Artisanal fishermen in France are warning of an unprecedented intensification of effort that will destroy their livelihoods.

Until it can be shown that this is a separate stock; and that fishing levels in the Bay of Biscay are sustainable, I demand the extension of measures into the Bay of Biscay. Sea Bass do not recognise an arbitrary line on a map and nether should fishery managers.

Tonnage implications

The EU Commission’s proposals were expected to cut landings to 1,449 tonnes in 2016, a figure 2.7 times the 541 tonnes recommended by the scientists. The recent decisions will result in an increase in landings from those proposed. This is totally unacceptable – the stock is expected to fall below Blim in 2016, with a high probability that there is insufficient egg production, causing the stock to fail to recover and remain depleted for extended periods, even when fishing is much reduced.

Yours faithfully,
[Insert Name]

[Send to]

informacionma@magrama.es; Marianne.Huusko-Lamponen@formin.fi; n.registrator@regeringskansliet.se; info@vm.gov.hu; kabinet.schauvliege@vlaanderen.be; adespota@papd.mof.gov.cy; herki.tuus@mfa.ee; Marian.Jurecka@mze.cz; Jan.Vanin@enviro.gov.sk; Minister@agriculture.gov.ie; gabriela.koenig@bmlfuw.gv.at; minister@mzh.government.bg; mpetrou@minagric.gr; christian.zewen@unico.etat.lu; Kristine.Purina@zm.gov.lv; mfvm@mfvm.dk; sekretariatryb@minrol.gov.pl; ured.ministra@mps.hr; inga.vukelic@mps.hr; info@verbraucherlotse.de; minister.mkgp@gov.si; anpa@anpa.ro; relatii.publice@madr.ro; secretariat.vidalies@developpement-durable.gouv.fr; dpma@developpement-durable.gouv.fr; frederic.gueudar-delahaye@developpement-durable.gouv.fr; alain.cadec@europarl.europa.eu; PECH-secretariat@europarl.europa.eu; karmenu.vella@ec.europa.eu; bernhard.friess@ec.europa.eu; phil.hogan@ec.europa.eu; defra.helpline@defra.gsi.gov.uk; roy.smith@defra.gsi.gov.uk; andrew.randall@defra.gsi.gov.uk; Delyth.Dyne@defra.gsi.gov.uk; demauley@parliament.uk; george.eustice.mp@parliament.uk; urp@politicheagricole.it; Info@zuv.lt; info@saveourseabass.org; infofisheries.msdec@gov.mt; indre.sidlauskiene@zuv.lt; h.r.offringa@minez.nl; roderick.galdes@gov.mt; cab-andriukaitis-webpage@ec.europa.eu;

Hey, my email bounced back from some addresses!

We have spent a lot of time checking the email addresses to make sure that they are correct.  If you receive an error message, please accept our apologies and forward it to us at info@saveourseabass.org so that we can check it and if necessary update it

Will I get a reply?

Probably not, but don’t worry, it will have an impact. Your email will go direct into the inbox of the decision-makers. The EU Commission has told us how much it values the support that we are giving for its proposals to get the EU Member States to agree Sea Bass landing cuts.


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