Under the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009, Cornwall IFCA must “manage the exploitation of sea fisheries resources” in its district ”and “ensure that the exploitation of sea fisheries resources is carried out in a sustainable way”.

However, it has become clear that Cornwall IFCA has not been monitoring landings of bass in Cornwall.  How do you ensure that bass exploitation is being carried out sustainably in Cornwall, if you don’t even know how much bass is being landed in Cornwall or which vessels are landing what amounts?  The simple answer is you can’t and Cornwall IFCA has been in dereliction of its statutory duty and has failed all stakeholders in the bass fishery.

The bass stock is in trouble and the EU has introduced restrictions to help recover the stock, including a ban on fixed netters targeting bass.  But, as we reported in June and July, we have obtained shocking landing data from the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) that shows that while net-caught bass landings in the rest of England have plummeted between 2013 and 2019, in Cornwall they have gone up by 43%.  In Mevagissey,  net-caught bass landings shot up to 9.2 tonnes in 2019, a staggering seven-fold increase since 2016, when it was still legal for netters to target bass.  And Mevagissey has leapt up the table of ports landing net-caught bass: from 34th place in 2016 to 1st place in 2018 and 2019!

What has Cornwall IFCA been doing about this?

We have had no answer from Cornwall IFCA to the key question:

“Why have net-caught bass landings in Cornwall and Mevagissey gone up dramatically, whilst they have plummeted in the rest of England?”

We are therefore asking sea anglers, hook and line commercial fishermen and other stakeholders in the bass fishery to write to Cornwall IFCA Committee members asking that they put this question on the agenda for the next Committee meeting on 18 September. We have made it easy for you to send them an email via our website: saveourseabass.org.

The Committee meeting will start at 10.00am and we understand the public will be able to follow the meeting online, using a link that will be published on the Cornwall Council website soon.   We would encourage you to log on to see if Cornwall IFCA will answer our question.