What Next? Saving The Sea Bass

Post-Brexit Campaign Update – July 2016

We do not expect Brexit to have any material impact on Sea Bass management in the next year or two. It will continue to be run by the UK and EU Fisheries Ministers and Fisheries Managers, working in close cooperation.

We can save the Sea Bass, by making sure our voices are heard by the decision-makers.

Your campaigning and pressure has already helped bring about important restrictions on unsustainable Sea Bass fishing:

  • An increase in the Minimum Conservation Reference Size to 42cm, so that more Sea Bass can reproduce before they are caught.
  • Vessel Catch Limits that make pair-trawling and purse-seine netting for Sea Bass spawning aggregations uneconomic.
  • A partial moratorium on landing Sea Bass in the first 6 months of 2016.

However, in December the UK and EU Fisheries Ministers gave in to the commercial fishing lobby and agreed damaging exemptions to the moratorium, scuttling the landing reductions that the EU Commission had hoped to achieve.

We believe the EU Commission will follow the scientific advice and propose a moratorium for 2017. Our message to the UK and EU Fisheries Ministers is that we will not tolerate exemptions for unsustainable commercial fishing. We will not accept dodgy deals done behind closed doors. Sea Bass are not a bargaining chip to be used in a game of murky political trade-offs.

Sustainable Fishing Methods Only

The UK and EU Fisheries Ministers must now agree to restrict the Sea Bass fishery to traditional Hook & Line fishing only.

Using nets to catch bass is not sustainable fishing – it indiscriminately kills under-sized Sea Bass, seals, cetaceans and sea birds.

EU law says that “Access to a fishery should be based on transparent and objective criteria including those of an environmental, social and economic nature. Member States should promote responsible fishing by providing incentives to those operators who fish in the least environmentally damaging way and who provide the greatest benefits for society.”

It is the combined responsibility of the EU Commission and the Fisheries Ministers of the UK and other EU Member States to deliver this.

To date the Sea Bass fishing restrictions have failed on this front, instead aiming mostly for “proportionality”, rather than discriminating in favour of sustainable fishing as the law requires.

Get Your Voice Heard

Please keep up the great work; keep making a difference; keep sending your emails to the Fisheries Ministers and Fisheries Managers.

If you don’t, who will?

Other Measures

Save our Sea Bass is also working for other improvements to the Sea Bass Fishery:

  • A Long Term Management Plan that sets out clear management objectives.
  • Restrictions to be extended to the Bay of Biscay to avoid displacement fishing from Northern France.
  • A fully documented Sea Bass fishery, with all Sea Bass landings recorded.
  • An increase in the Minimum Conservation Reference Size to 48cm to allow all Sea Bass to reproduce at least once.
  • A ban on commercial landings of Sea Bass during the migration and spawning months.
  • A discard ban for Sea Bass.
  • Improvements to existing Sea Bass Nursery Areas, including a netting ban. Please see our paper on Sea Bass Nursery Areas

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