Angling Trust News 6th Jan 2015
Tuesday 6th January 2015
UK requests emergency measures to protect bass stocks.
Dear Angling Trust Member,
Bass stocks in both the UK and Northern Europe are in deep trouble. Scientists, anglers and conservation bodies have been warning of the dangers for over 15 years and for the need to introduce meaningful conservation measures in both domestic and European Waters to avoid a stock collapse.
The decline in bass is the result of intensive overfishing, increasing fishing effort, the deliberate targeting of bass spawning aggregations, the harvesting of immature fish before they have had an opportunity to breed and successive years of recruitment failure.
In 2013 scientific advice issued by the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES) recommended a 36 per cent cut in catches for 2013. This recommendation was never acted upon. In June 2014 this was increased to a recommendation for an 80 per cent cut in catches of bass across the EU for 2015, again, so far, this advice has not been heeded.
The results from the two main long running juvenile bass surveys in the Thames and the Solent paint a similar picture of decline. The latest Solent bass survey in June has confirmed five poor year classes in a row (2008 – 2012). Further inaction can only result in a total moratorium on all forms of bass fishing – recreational and commercial – with serious economic and social consequences.
The Angling Trust has been campaigning hard with our colleagues from the Bass Anglers Sportfishing Society (BASS) for the introduction of much needed conservation measures to save threatened bass stocks in both UK and European waters.
We were assured that some sort of action to protect bass stocks would be agreed at the December EU Fisheries Council meeting but when the time came not a single bass conservation measure was agreed by fisheries ministers. This was despite the UK Government pressing for effective and balanced cuts in the amount of bass taken in response to the ICES stock assessment and advice.
The UK Government has formally requested that the EU takes emergency measures to protect bass stocks. Defra’s request (19th December) to the EU Commission includes the following:
“Given the urgency of the situation, we are hereby making a reasoned request, under the terms of Article 12 of the CFP Regulation (1380/2013), for the Commission to adopt emergency measures to alleviate the serious threat to the sea bass stock. To reduce fishing pressure by protecting the spawning aggregations the UK proposes the adoption of measures to close area VIIe to pelagic trawlers targeting bass during January to April 2015” (Area VIIe is the Western end of the English channel).
Member states must submit comments about the proposal by January 6th and a decision on whether to adopt these measures with immediate effect is expected from the Commission by January 14th or shortly thereafter.
It is vital that we show strong support for these emergency measures and we are asking Angling Trust members to email the Commissioner, Karmenu Vella, with a short message of support. His address is: Karmenu.Vella@ec.europa.eu
Please put ‘Bass’ in the subject line.
A PDF of the Angling Trust’s letter to Commissioner Karmenu Vella can be downloaded HERE. Feel free to cut and paste some of this into your own email.
Lots more information on our bass campaign can be found on our website HERE.
We need your help to save our bass. Please get typing today!
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