Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Bass: "An immediate death sentence" for handlining

The platform of the small French artisanal fishing and trolling association of advanced Britain denounced the proposal from the European Commission to ban the bass fishing during the first six months of the year in the Channel and North Sea, sign "a death sentence" for these small-scale fishermen. The testimony of Michel Lesage fisherman is clear: since the transition to 42 cm, already, "the business is no longer viable". These measures will complete the ...

The French small-scale fishing platform on alert "the loss of hundreds of jobs and sudden withdrawal of an entire economic sector". It denounces "absolute nonsense". The bar is a vital species for small-scale fishing fleet of (netters and trollers), representing over 1000 boats and 2000 sailors for the whole northeast Atlantic. If they are highly dependent on this resource, they "are in no way responsible for the present catastrophic situation".

"The Commission does realize that with such a moratorium, fishermen we represent will not be around when the stock will be restored? Even their ships no longer worth anything ... They are, instead, large vessels, primarily responsible for the situation, and ability to refer to other species, which will once again be enriched through bar .. . An aberration! "

The platform emphasizes that the transition to 42 cm was extremely brutal for small businesses in the northern zone, some to reject the majority of their catch. She recalled the seasonal nature of fishing and the importance of spring for many ships.

Making the distinction between offshore and coast

Even in the position of content troll the tip of Brittany. They had anticipated the capture size to 42 cm and monthly limitations, but this moratorium "as a surprise that nobody had imagined even in the darkest scenarios". They depend on the bar to more than 80% without any possibility of diversification: no other species angling and mostly too small boats to consider a conversion to nets or traps. "Small boats are not responsible for the collapse of bar stock, and it is to them that we would pay full price?, Protest trolling. The large trawlers behind the looting of spawning grounds will with ease directing their fishing activities to other parts of Europe, target other demersal or pelagic species, and enjoy full restoration of bar stock when it will be effective. Trolling, they, unfortunately, will not be around to enjoy it. "

The association calls for introducing in the implementation of this moratorium, "a distinction between broad areas of vital for the reproduction of the species and coastal areas necessary for the maintenance of vital craft in the life of coastal communities ".

The totally incoherent European Commission

These two structures are reminiscent of the strong measures it had proposed, together with other small European fishermen (British, Dutch), through their organization Life (Low Impact Fischermen of Europe): a two-month moratorium for all areas of January 15 15 March and an additional moratorium of two months for the open sea, where the reproduction occurs (extending the prohibition of fishing on spawning from December 15 to April 15). "These measures, combined with the increase in size capture and monthly catch limits allow reasonable hope for a return to a satisfactory level of stock as early as 2020. "

Beyond stupor, incomprehension dominates. "What happened to the fine words of the European Commission: to preserve inshore fishing, giving priority access to resources to activities having the least environmental impact? There is a gap that no one understands. "The situation is" grotesque and delirious ". The fishermen are asking the seizure of STECF (Scientific Council, Technical and Economic Fisheries) to establish the socio-economic impacts on small-scale fisheries management measures proposed.

And why target the recovery of the stock in 2017 while the fisheries policy provides back later in 2020 when social and economic constraints are too strong? Simple political calculation, require much to hope that the European Council of Ministers compromise in December to an acceptable level? Fishermen also warn of the total lack of management of bar stock in the Bay of Biscay, that might lead to the same effects.

Extract from a Fench journal: