Bob Earll ‘The Guardian has run an article on impact of the French bass fishery on bycatch of dolphins and strandings on French beaches. The strandings network run by Cornwall Wildlife Trust have also registered increased dolphin strandings over the last few years. I covered this a few weeks ago when Sea Shepherd released images of the bycatch from earlier this year. This fishery and problem is not new and Wildlife & Countryside Link members highlighted this in 2018.
This fishery affects both dolphins and bass. Bass stocks are in a very bad way so much so pressure has been put on sea anglers to reduce their catches, threatening many local sports angling livelihoods. The bass fishing community have made a convincing case that bass sports angling has a much great economic benefit than commercial fishing but this has been ignored.
This is a seasonal fishery but urgent action needs to be taken to prevent a rerun of this fiasco in 2020. This fishery is shattering notions of an ecosystem approach to fisheries management under MSFD in the EU and its right on our doorstep. It is a massive failure of fisheries management. NGOs and angling interests need to collaborate more effectively redouble their efforts in Brussels either to get this fishery closed down until the bycatch issue is resolved.