It’s the Fish, Stupid!

What’s the most important thing for fishery managers to do?  Make sure there are plenty of fish in the sea of course!

But in the bass fishery, the Government instead targets maximising the number of bass killed.  The result of this disastrous policy is a stock size just 30% of what it would be if there were no fishing.  Shocking, isn’t it? 70% of the bass stock has gone.

This policy makes no sense, even for a commercial fishery, since it is well-established that targeting a higher stock size would increase commercial fishing profits.  But when you consider the bass fishery is predominantly a recreational fishery1 that values an abundance of big bass, maximising the number of bass killed is downright nuts!

So surely the Government is planning to fix this with the shiny, new Bass Fishery Management Plan that is now in consultation?  Astonishingly, it isn’t!  It intends to keep maximising the number of bass killed and has suggested it will “seek to review and carry out new research to assess alternative harvest strategies for bass that prioritise societal and ecosystem benefits”.  Note the words “seek to review”.  So they aren’t even making a firm commitment to review this policy, let alone change it.  And guess what? They aren’t going to do anything in the short term, saying they will do this in the “medium to long term”, and we all know what that might mean – kick the can down the road until most people have forgotten about it and then kick it into the long grass.

It’s unacceptable that the Government isn’t making targeting a higher bass stock level a high priority for the Bass Fishery Management Plan.  If you agree, please go to our website and send an email to your MP asking him or her to contact the Fisheries Minister asking for a strong commitment to change this policy quickly.  Your email will be copied to the consultation mailbox, but please also go to the Government’s consultation webpage and submit a reply.

If we all act now, we and future generations will reap the benefits of a bigger and more resilient bass stock.

Note: 1 by bass put on British family plates, number of participants and economic value  

Bass Angling Conservation – at the heart of the political debate on the future of the bass fishery in Northern Europe.

Comment (1)

  • Wayne Rice| August 29, 2023

    Reduce the commercial bass fishing by 50% minimum

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