Newlyn Fish Market - boats due to land.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Bass ban as reported in the UK.

Brussels has issued an emergency ban on fisheries trawling for bass during the spawning season to save the species from collapse.

The European Commission decision, announced yesterday, will protect fish stocks off the Westcountry coast which are vulnerable to French pair trawlers in particular. The emergency closure, which has been agreed with Britain, France, Belgium and the Netherlands, will extend from the North Sea to the south coast of England and the Irish Sea for “pelagic” – or open sea – trawlers between January and April.

Pelagic trawlers account for around a quarter of the “impact” on the stock, the Commission said. French pair trawlers take around a third of all bass and are thought to target them during the spawning season – meaning they do not get a chance to reproduce. The measure is likely to be adopted on Friday.

Bass fishing was outlawed in 2004 after pair trawling was banned linked to the killing of dolphins off the South West coast. The method, which involves two powerful boats towing a giant net, provides the majority of bass available in fishmongers. Recreational bass fishing is an important tourist activity off the Devon and Cornwall coast.

Fisheries Minister George Eustice, also Conservative MP for Camborne and Redruth in Cornwall, said: “Real action is being taken to protect bass stocks. The UK has consistently argued that there is need to reduce fishing pressure to protect concentrations of fish during the spawning season and prevent the collapse of stocks – the science is unequivocal.

“I am therefore delighted the European Commission has announced a package of emergency measures aimed at averting the collapse of the declining bass stock.

“To build on this success I hope we can achieve agreement with other EU Member States on a wider package of measures that achieves a balanced approach, reflecting the contribution of both commercial fisheries and recreational anglers to declining bass numbers.”

Read more: Full story from the Western Morning News

Plenty of comments have been added to MP George Eustice's FB page after he posted his role in securing the deal - see the post and comments here: