This week, we have again been receiving reports of fixed netters in St Ives Bay illegally targeting bass as they aggregate to migrate to offshore spawning areas. Will Cornwall IFCA take urgent action to protect these fish from illegal and unsustainable fishing?

At the end of this note you will find details on how to have your say by sending an email to Cornwall IFCA Committee members and how to listen to the Cornwall IFCA Committee meeting on Thursday 17 December to hear the discussion on what actions Cornwall will take to stop this illegal activity.

Since 2017, it has been illegal for fixed netters to target bass – they are only allowed to land bass if it is “unavoidable bycatch”. Yet anonymised vessel landing data provided by the MMO suggests that Cornish vessels ARE targeting bass.

For example, in the case of Cornish vessel with anonymised vessel ID 2202, bass made up 85% of its total landings from 36 trips in 2019, and 22 of those trips contained 100% bass!

And yet Cornwall IFCA tells us it is difficult to prove that netters are targeting bass!

We have also found that some netting vessels have exceeded their annual bass bycatch allowance (1.2 Tonnes in 2018 and 1.4 tonnes in 2019), seemingly without repercussions! Another management failure.

And finally, as if Cornish fixed netters illegally targeting bass and exceeding annual bycatch allowances were not enough, the MMO data shows vessels landing bass during the February / March commercial fishing closed period.

To add insult to injury, the only bass-related enforcement action taken by Cornwall IFCA in the past few years was against a Recreational Sea Angler.

View Our Presentation

To read our full findings, please view our presentation below. Note: You can use the options in the presentation footer to pause on individual slides etc.

Send An Email To Cornwall IFCA

Want to have your say? You can read some further background information and send an email to Cornwall IFCA Committee members by visiting our blog post here.

Listen to the Cornwall IFCA Committee Meeting

You can listen to the Cornwall IFCA Committee meeting on Thursday 17 December but following this link