• A great response from our UK and French supporters – sending emails to the EU.
  • The politicians got it wrong on gill netting, it is not low impact or sustainable.
  • This mistake makes it harder for the EU Commission to deliver its commitment to sustainable bass fishing from 2017.
  • The bass stock is the loser – now heading firmly into the danger zone.


Thank You!

Our sincere thanks to everyone who has taken the time to send a sea bass email (or even two!) to the EU Fisheries Ministers.  Your emails have put sustainable fishing for sea bass high on the agenda with the EU Member States and the EU Commission and have led to the EU Commission committing to achieving FMSY (a sustainable fishing level) for sea bass in 2017 – a hugely valuable achievement.

But we need to keep applying pressure – please continue to provide your support as we enter the next, critical, phase of the campaign.

Preliminary Response (subject to reviewing legislation)

The politicians have agreed that for sustainable, low impact, commercial fishermen the moratorium should only be for 2 months and that the Vessel Catch Limit should be increased from 1.0 to 1.3 tonnes per month.

In principle this is fine; we have been campaigning for discrimination in favour of sustainable fishing that score highly on social and economic benefits.  But what is outraging conservationists and recreational anglers alike is that the politicians have extended these reliefs to gill netting (and possibly trammel netting), which has been a major cause of the destruction of the bass stock and in the UK represented 56% of all landings in 2014 – hardly “low Impact” fishing.

This relief represents an increase in UK gill net landings of 131 tonnes (and don’t forget it will increase landings in France and the Netherlands too), despite the scientists recommending a 90% cut to achieve maximum landings of 541 tonnes in 2016 for the entire Northern bass stock, for all fishing methods.  Complete and utter madness!

Before the vessel catch limits and the moratorium were watered down, the EU Commission estimated that landings for 2016 would be 1,449 tonnes, i.e. 2.7 times the scientists’ recommendation.  We are waiting to hear what this will increase to and how the EU Commission now proposes to deliver its commitment to deliver FMSY in 2017.

One can only wonder why the politicians thought relief for gill netting was a good decision: simply not understanding the numbers?  Too tired at 1.00am in the morning to realise what they were agreeing? Bowing to pressure from a commercial fishing lobby that puts short term profits above the health of the sea bass stock and the jobs dependent upon it?

In any case, Save Our Sea Bass will continue its dogged and determined fight to save the bass stock and will work closely with the EU Commission to achieve FMSY in 2017, notwithstanding that the politicians have just made a tough job even harder.

Catch & Release

Thanks to the wave of emails that you sent last week, the moratorium will not apply to catch and release bass fishing.  This is great news, since it protects the most sustainable and profitable type of bass fishing and is a step towards giving effect to Article 17 of the Common Fisheries Policy: allocating fishing opportunities using criteria of an environmental, social and economic nature.

Bag Limit

A 1 fish bag limit from 1 July to 31 December 2016.


1 January to 30 June – zero bag limit for recreational anglers.

February and March 2016 only, moratorium for fixed gill nets and hook and liners.

1 January to 30 June 2016 – moratorium for all other commercial fishing methods (i.e. trawlers and seine netting).

1 January to 30 June 2016 – by-catch allowance for bottom trawling and seine netting: 1% of total catch.

Vessel Catch Limits

For January and 1 April to 31 December 2016, 1.3 tonnes per month for fixed gill nets and hook and liners.

From 1 July to 31 December 2016, 1.0 tonne per month for all other commercial fishing methods.

Bay of Biscay

Measures not extended to Bay of Biscay, despite insufficient data to support it being managed as a separate stock.


Ireland: – the general prohibition on commercial fishing around Ireland for the whole of 2016 has been agreed.