Proposed bass measures for 2020   UK Government / MMO

TAC regulations are expected to be published in January 2020.

Published 8 January 2020

The new TAC regulations are expected to be published later in January 2020. In the meantime current regulations still apply.

This means that in January 2020:

  • commercial bass fisheries limits remain as outlined in 2019 bass authorisation letters
  • for recreational bass fisheries it is catch and release only

The 2019 bass guidance can be viewed here

What bass measures we expect to happen in 2020

Following the Agriculture and Fisheries Council of the 16-17 December 2019 the MMO expects the following rules will apply to bass fisheries.

Commercial bass fisheries

All commercial bass fishing in ICES divisions 4b, 4c, 7d, 7e, 7f and 7h and in waters within 12 nautical miles from baselines under the sovereignty of the United Kingdom in ICES divisions 7a and 7g will require an authorisation to retain bass. Commercial bass fishing will be prohibited during February to March 2020.

The MMO will be writing to all fishing vessel owners with a revised authorisation to catch and retain bass and will provide further guidance on our website once the 2020 TAC regulations are published. In the meantime, current authorisation letters from 2019 are valid.

Bass will continue not to be subject to the landings obligation. Any bass caught above the quantity a vessel is authorised to land and any undersized bass must be discarded.  Click here to read more

Save our Seabass: Anglers highlight the difficulties of the current regulations in Cornwall

C is for Conservation?

Yet more bad news on Cornwall Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority’s continuing failure to protect local sea bass stocks. Bass are subject to strict fishing restrictions to try to recover the stock from a recent crash, so sea anglers were horrified on Thursday when 75 – 100 dead juvenile bass were dumped in the river at Hayle just outside CIFCA’s offices.  However, it seems this is just the tip of the iceberg: local commercial hand-liners say that fixed netters are regularly discarding undersized bass killed in their nets or filleting them at sea to avoid the Minimum Conservation Reference Size law and landing and selling them. A hand-liner told us: “These fish are our future. Hook and liners are depending upon these bass coming through to maturity”. CIFCA has a legal duty to seek to balance the needs of different stakeholders, but little seems to be happening to protect the interests of hand-liners or recreational fishermen.

On Saturday, Cornwall Live quoted a CIFCA spokesperson saying “If the fish have been discarded and they were in fact under the legal limit then whoever is doing it is acting perfectly legal and is obliged to do so.”  Sea anglers are shaking their heads with disbelief at CIFCA’s reaction: the only reason this senseless killing is taking place and remains legal is because CIFCA failed to act a year ago, when juvenile bass were illegally landed and sold by fixed netters at Newlyn fish market. First, CIFCA rejected a proposal for an emergency byelaw to protect juvenile bass, and then it rejected an alternative proposal from its own Byelaw Working Group to deal with this problem by bringing forward a 2023 review of inshore netting, claiming it had insufficient resources and that bass protection was not an urgent problem in CIFCA District, even though the EU Commission has called the decline in the bass stock an environmental disaster.’ Click here to read more

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