EAA & EFTTA deliver Sea bass 2019 position paper

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29 Nov

On 28 November, EAA and EFTTA have circulated a bass position paper with some request to the Member States and the Commission. The fishing opportunities for 2019 will be agreed at the Council meeting 17-18 December. We hope to see our bass requests agreed at the meeting.

Our main requests to the Council and the Commission 

● that the publics’ right to a fair share of the sea bass should be restored in 2019. The recreational sector has been loyal and supportive to the cuts made in its bass fishing opportunities in recent years due to concern over the depleted stock. In fact, it was the recreational anglers, who first raised alarm about overfishing of the bass stock and pushed hard for the EU to do something about it. The recreational sector has been consistently hit much harder by management measures than the commercial sector (see annex A further below). What always was a hard sell has now become a reason for distrust of Europe’s institutions for millions of common anglers all over Europe.

● a 3 bass bag limit (Northern bass), instead of the proposed 1 bass, and to agree to the 7 months open season as suggested by the Commission (April-Oct). In the 60s, before the commercial bass fishery took off, the recreational removals were about 90% of the total catches. In quantity the recreational removals have been relatively stable since then, also when not managed (before 2015). It is the commercial catches that have increased dramatically over the years. Ireland had to close the commercial bass fishery in 1991. It is still closed today.

● the Minimum Conservation Reference Size (MCRS) to be 42 cm for both Southern and Northern bass. For the time being everybody but commercial fishers fishing for Southern bass are obliged to fish a 42 cm MCRS. We find it very unfair that anglers in the south are obliged to fish a 42 cm MCRS in the same waters where commercial fishers fish a MCRS 38 cm. A 42 cm MCRS, or higher, is needed to secure that ca. 50 % female bass spawn at least once. Furthermore, by increasing the MCRS in general a more clear separation between farmed bass and wild bass brought to the market is achieved.

● the socio-economics of recreational angling should always be taking duly into account when allocating fishing opportunities for sea bass, as it happens for commercial fishing. A study commissioned by the European Parliament gives these figures for marine recreational fisheries in Europe:
“Total economic impact of marine recreational fishing amounts to 10.5 billion euro, supporting almost 100,000 jobs.”

Read the full position paper here
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