EAA estimates that 2 million sea anglers regularly or occasionally target sea bass in EU waters. EAA conservatively estimates the socio-economic value of recreational bass angling to be an average of 100 EUR per bass angler per year, equal to a total of 200 million EUR.
Sea bass has traditionally been caught by recreational anglers only in Europe, until the commercial fisheries for this species expanded in the 1960-70s. Sea bass stocks are currently in decline due to overfishing and poor recruitment in recent years.
Scientists, the European Commission and the European Anglers Alliance call for measures to protect sea bass. The EAA asks for a multiannual management plan of sea bass in Europe to secure the sustainability of the species, taking into consideration the socio-economic importance of the EU anglers.
Until 2015, sea bass was not managed effectively at the EU level. Given the lack of sufficient measures by the Member States to preserve the fish stocks, the European Commission proposed some emergency measures that were adopted for 2015 (catch limits and increased minimum landing size to 42cm). However, these measures only concerned the “northern bass” (Irish Sea, Celtic Sea, English Channel and southern North Sea). The EAA welcomed these measures, although it urged that the “southern bass” also should be properly managed as soon as possible.
In 2016, a moratorium was put in place the first six months of the year followed by other kinds of catch limitation measures for the second half of 2016. See the EAA position on these measures.
In December 2016, new sea bass management measures for 2017 will be decided by the EU Fisheries Ministers on the basis of a new proposal by the EU Commission.
A new film produced by EAA and EFTTA has been launched on the 11th October 2016 in the European Parliament calling for the socio-economic importance of recreational fisheries to be taken into account in the long term management of European Seabass.