The UK fishery managers have bottled it on the Bass Fishery Management Plan. It should have had a clear and ambitious vision:

  1. Maximising benefits for coastal communities; and
  2. A higher bass stock target that could deliver those benefits.

Social and Economic Benefits

The bass fishery belongs to all of us and so it should be managed to deliver the best long-term benefits to our society. So how can we maximise benefits for coastal communities and what would this mean in practice for sea anglers?

Recreational bass fishing generates far greater social and economic benefits than commercial bass fishing, but with a much lower impact on the stock.  So increasing benefits without damaging the bass stock means increasing recreational fishing activity.  The way to do this is to deliver the things recreational fishers want, and top of the list are:

  • more of the very big fish that recreational fishers love to catch.
  • fewer “blanks” and more bass per session.

Which means targeting a higher and truly sustainable bass stock level.

Targeting a higher bass stock level

Currently, the target for the bass fishery is to kill the maximum number of bass.  This has resulted in a shockingly small stock size, just 30% of what it would be if it there were no fishing.  This target was developed for commercial fisheries and makes zero sense for our bass fishery.

If we target a higher stock level to deliver more and bigger bass, this will not only boost recreational fishing activity and benefits, but will give us a more resilient bass stock that can cope with bad years when fewer young fish survive to maturity.

And commercial fishers and the environment benefit too: less fuel burned chasing bass and the average size of bass caught goes up (larger bass make more money per kilo than smaller bass).

Stop commercial bass fishing that restricts bass angling activity

Some commercial fishing practices discourage recreational fishers from fishing and thereby reduce social and economic benefits.  These damaging practices must be stopped if society is to maximise benefits from the bass fishery:

  • Localised overfishing of bass by netters that “fishes-out” some areas for many years, making bass fishing unproductive for recreational fishers and commercial hook and liners.
  • fixed netters setting nets extremely close to the shore, stopping sea anglers being able to fish at their favourite locations.
  • Trawlers fishing right up to the shore, preventing sea anglers from casting.  In one recent case, even causing the cancellation of a recreational fishing tournament.

Get Your Voice Heard

If you agree that the UK fishery managers have bodged the Bass Fishery Management Plan, send your MP an email now, asking him/her to contact the Fisheries Minister with your concerns.

Please click on the link below that makes it quick and easy for you to send an email to your MP and the fishery managers.