No change to Sea Bass landing size –

No change to Sea Bass landing size Published:  25 October, 2007

Jonathan Shaw

FISHERMEN and anglers can continue to land sea bass at a size of 36 centimeters and over, Fisheries Minister Jonathan Shaw announced today.

The minimum landing size (MLS) for the fish, a measure designed to contribute to sustainable stocks, is to be kept at 36 cm. Mr Shaw also announced a range of new measures to benefit bass stocks and anglers.

He said: “Having considered the science and evidence, and having listened carefully to the concerns of anglers and commercial fishermen, I have decided not to increase the MLS for bass.

“Bass is important to the inshore fishing fleet, which would have borne the brunt of the cost of increasing the MLS. I could not justify introducing a measure, which would have had such an impact on those fishermen given the current pressures they face and the healthy state of the stock at present.

“Fisheries management needs to be based on collaboration and shared information, which is why I brought both sides together for the first time to debate the issues. I know that anglers will be disappointed, as they have played their part in making sure the stock remains sustainable. I do not rule out returning to an increase in the MLS once the effectiveness of the other measures I am announcing today has been assessed.”

In August last year, Defra announced that the MLS for bass would increase to 40cm from 36cm, but following representations from the fishing industry it was decided not to proceed until new evidence had been considered.

Scientific advice suggests that bass appears to be fished sustainably and that stocks have stabilised or grown in UK coastal waters since the mid-1990s.

Mr Shaw today also announced plans for a review of Bass Nursery Areas and inshore netting restrictions, and for consultation on the designation and design of new areas.

A Recreational Sea Angling Strategy will be published next month, and Defra is funding research exploring the use of restricted areas to benefit recreational anglers. New management measures for tope, a species of interest to anglers, will be unveiled soon. is published by Special Publications. Special Publications also publish FISHupdate magazine, Fish Farmer, the Fish Industry Yearbook, the Scottish Seafood Processors Federation Diary, the Fish Farmer Handbook and a range of wallplanners.