Fixed netters in St Ives bay are reported to be illegally hammering bass as they aggregate to migrate to offshore spawning areas.  We are told one vessel has landed 1.5 tonnes of bass in one night (more than its 1.4 tonnes annual allowance) and earned around £5,000 and now other vessels have seen this and are swooping in. Targeting bass as they aggregate to migrate offshore and spawn damages the bass stock, and threatens bass angling all around the UK.

Please send an email to Cornwall IFCA Committee members asking them to stop Cornish netters illegally targeting bass.

We can’t provide you with a pre-written email to send, since that would just be ignored. But we suggest you:

  • mention the large netting landings this week in St Ives that were mostly bass, despite the law banning netters from targeting bass; and
  • tell the Committee members that at their Committee meeting on 17 December you want them to restrict netters to no more than 30% of bass in any landing. This is plenty to allow genuine bycatch to be landed, but will stop illegal targeting dead in its tracks.

To increase the chance of the Committee member acting on your email, it is important that you add some personal details about why this issue concerns you. If you live or fish in Cornwall, don’t forget to mention this.

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Background information:

There is a massive problem with illegal targeting of bass by Cornish netters.  Net-caught sea bass landings in Cornwall have increased by 43% since 2013, despite EU measures making it illegal for fixed netters to target bass; introducing a closed period in February and March; and increasing the Minimum Conservation Reference Size to 42cm.  At the same time, net-caught bass landings in the rest of England since 2013 have plummeted by 78% – so the EU bass netting restrictions have been working in the rest of England, but have been ignored in Cornwall.

And in Mevagissey, net-caught bass landings shot up from 1.2 tonnes in 2016 to 9.2 tonnes in 2019, a staggering seven-fold increase.  Mevagissey has leapt up the table of ports landing net-caught bass: from 34th place in 2016 to 1st place in 2018 and 2019!