The European sea bass is one of the most emblematic species in recreational fishing. Anglers travel long distances for a chance to catch them and the economic benefits are significant for coastal communities. EAA welcomes the alignment of the closing period between recreational and commercial fishing, but regrets the bag limit remains untouched.
After seven years of conservation measures put
in place by the Commission , the seabass stock is slowly recovering. This has led the EU to adopt a significant increase of
the fishing opportunities in 2021, further confirmed in 2022, to the sole benefit
of commercial fisheries. Meanwhile, fishing opportunities for the recreational
sector have remained largely untouched with a bag limit of two fish per day
On 12 December 2022, the EU and the UK reached an agreement for the 2023 fishing opportunities
for more than 100 shared stocks including seabass. This year again, there is an
overall roll-over of the previous year’s arrangements but with additional
flexibilities for commercial trawl/seine and limits increases for commercial
hooks and lines and commercial fixed gillnet limits. The recreational sector will
be limited to:
- A daily
bag limit of two fish per angler in the South (Southern Atlantic
waters - ICES divisions 8a and 8b),
the North (Northern
Atlantic waters - ICES divisions 4b, 4c, 6a and 7a to 7k), only catch-and-release allowed
in February and March. From March until November, a bag limit of
two fish per day and per angler will apply while the minimum size
remains at 42 cm.
EAA and EFTTA regret that once again the EU and the UK have failed to acknowledge
the economic importance of the recreational fisheries sector in this fishery
and the need for a fair, non-discriminatory allocation of fishing opportunities.
EAA and EFTTA argued for:
· A 3 bass daily bag limit from March to December with harmonised closing and
minimum reference size (42 cm) in the North and South;
A lower level of catches overall, to accelerate the recovery of the stock, which,
with the current policies would take 15 years to grow back to safe levels;
protection of juveniles from bycatch and discarding.
EAA and EFTTA welcome the ambition of a joint EU-UK multi-year strategy for bass management which should help towards a better management of the stock and fisheries. Both organisations also welcome the decision to set up a closed season that is equal for recreational and commercial fisheries.
EAA and EFTTA however regret that once again the EU and the UK have failed to acknowledge the economic importance of the recreational fisheries sector in this fishery and the need for a fair, non-discriminatory allocation of fishing opportunities.