Rod Sturdy: Bass – again!

FishingMagic

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Make no mistake, the bass is an iconic, highly predatory species which illustrates very well the simple fact that recreational sea fishing is worth much more to the UK economy than is commercial fishing. In the UK alone, Defra estimates that bass fishing is worth £200m per year.

Seen Europe-wide, the figures are even more impressive: recreational bass fishing adds €10.5bn to the European economy and creates almost 100,000 jobs.

And alongside these astounding figures, we need to consider one other astounding fact; that bass stocks are on the verge of collapse. The predicted stock for 2018, at 6,414 tonnes, is a mere third of that in 2010.

I will not bore you with a blow-by-blow account of how this has come about, except to say that the usual culprits, the politicians and bureaucrats, have consistently refused to heed warnings issued by the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES), anglers and other conservationists. ICES now has no option but to recommend a total moratorium on bass fishing for 2018. Not only that, but UK fisheries ministers have consistently failed to take on board the need for stock conservation over the past 40 years. The crunch has come; and it has come big time.

And the crunch has come in other ways as well: the EU Commission has decreed that the burden of rectifying this sorry state of affairs will fall on the shoulders of recreational anglers, who, if the powers-that-be have their way, will be banned from catching bass for the first 6 months of 2018, and from then on not allowed to take even a single fish per fishing day for the table. All this will be in addition to the severe restrictions which have already been placed on recreational bass fishing, which include a higher minimum retention size and a closed season lasting 6 months of the year. Not only that: commercial bass fishing will be allowed to carry on as before!

For years, angling organisations have warned EU Fisheries Ministers that unless commercial catch rates are reduced as per scientific evidence and advice, the crunch would come. Well, now it truly has. The measures being proposed will do next to nothing to conserve stocks, quite the reverse in fact. And all the while commercial exploitation of this species, including devastating gill netting, would be allowed to continue. And the economic consequences would be considerable.

There is no doubt that implementation of the EU proposals would mean the loss of an iconic species; it is also beyond doubt that the UK economy would lose out, and many would suffer unemployment as a consequence.

So I ask you to join with me in signing the petition to George Eustace which can be accessed from the following page on the Angling Trust website:

http://www.anglingtrust.net/page.asp?section=1232&sectionTitle=Save+our+Bass+Fishing

This petition asks for rod and line bass fishing to be allowed during 2018, with anglers permitted to keep 1 fish per fishing day for the table if required, a modest demand in the circumstances.

You will also find a button to enable you to e-mail your MP.

And please do not think that because you never fish for bass, this issue does not concern you. It does, because as sure as fate an issue will come along which does affect you, and then you will need the support of other anglers, just as I hope you will lend them your support on this one. By showing that anglers can present a strong case and lobby in their interests and those of the species they fish for, you can actually prevent crisis situations like this one arising.

And please do consider joining the Angling Trust, the organisation which fights on your behalf – for fish and fishing.



*Rod began fishing in his local park lake at the age of twelve, and from there he graduated to chub and roach from the river Tees in North Yorkshire. He now lives in Surrey within striking distance of the river Mole, as well as the Medway and the Eden in Kent and does a lot of surface carp fishing on small waters in the area. Latterly he has enjoyed winter fishing on the Test in Hampshire. He has contributed numerous articles on various angling subjects and personalities to ‘Waterlog’ magazine, as well as many posts on environmental and political subjects in support of the work of the Angling Trust on the ‘Fishing Magic’ website (www.fishingmagic.com)

He remains a passionate angler as well as a member and promoter of the Angling Trust.

The Angling Trust deserves your support in its dealings with politicians and the media to defend and promote fishing. *Find out all about the Angling Trust and its work atwww.anglingtrust.net*or call us on 01568 620447. If you’re not already a member*DO consider joining.







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markg

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I am tired of reading about quota systems as well, they are based on 50% guesswork at best and they have never worked; they just get evermore complicated, unfair and based on fingers crossed this time, not exactly scientific is it.. The forward thinking innovative world is getting on with ocean reservations and having good results, I have just read in the National Geographic of another group of islands where their commercial, species-preservation and tourist interests are being transformed by well thought out reservations. Britain and the EU are just criminally thick; continuing putting their hopes on a system that's always behind the game and been failing for 60 years or more.
And continue to fail I reckon, the next big date is 2020 or 2021 when all these present quota systems will again be seriously looked at, anyone think they will show a remarkable turnaround for our endangered species, I very much doubt it.
So this will mean another round of evermore complicated and stringent quotas and so it will go on and on to nowhere.
 
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Peter Jacobs

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I would disagree Mark inasmuch ad the present quota systems are based on research, scientific and data assessment and catch landing statistics.

The success of the cod quota systems for the last decade or more is surely evidence enough to prove that quotas actually work.

As far as the Bass problem is concerned then, personally, I find it incredible that commercial fishing can continue while recreational fishing is stopped.

To my mind this is nothing but lip service to the problem . . . . . I would think that if you took all the Bass caught by recreational anglers for a year it wouldn't exceed the commercial catch for a month, if that.

The idea of a series of exclusion zones around the coast of the UK is a good one, but sadly is not either commercially viable or possible to police with our existing resources.
 

Graham Elliott 1

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My view is that no one needs to take a bass for the table.

So why does Ron tell us how serious it is then seek to allow it?

Personally my contribution is to never buy a bass from any retailers. If we all did this it would help. (Accept that it would lead to greater exporting)

Thats the message the Angling Trust should be giving, Europe wide

Bass are stunning fish.
 

markg

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I would disagree Mark inasmuch ad the present quota systems are based on research, scientific and data assessment and catch landing statistics.

The success of the cod quota systems for the last decade or more is surely evidence enough to prove that quotas actually work.

As far as the Bass problem is concerned then, personally, I find it incredible that commercial fishing can continue while recreational fishing is stopped.

To my mind this is nothing but lip service to the problem . . . . . I would think that if you took all the Bass caught by recreational anglers for a year it wouldn't exceed the commercial catch for a month, if that.

The idea of a series of exclusion zones around the coast of the UK is a good one, but sadly is not either commercially viable or possible to police with our existing resources.
Peter, all the zones that have been set up faced the same problems, there is nothing unique about the seas around the EU and Britain. Politics, policing, commercial interests, objections etc etc were no different yet, they have been successfully negotiated and are up and running. The largest one in the world in the Bering Sea involved many countries but got approval eventually.
These are the future larders of the world, fish grow quicker, spawn better in them and ensure the survival of many species, scientists and oceanalogists from all parts of the world are advising for them because everyone and everything benefits including the commercial sector.
 
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thecrow

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My view is that no one needs to take a bass for the table.

So why does Ron tell us how serious it is then seek to allow it?

Personally my contribution is to never buy a bass from any retailers. If we all did this it would help. (Accept that it would lead to greater exporting)

Thats the message the Angling Trust should be giving, Europe wide

Bass are stunning fish.


Absolutely, when I lived near to the beach I saw holidaying anglers taking small Bass that were around 8 inches long, I never took a Bass of any size even though I caught them up to around 8lbs. There is no need for anyone to take them and that includes boats.

Quota's do not work for the dead fish that are tipped back into the sea, they plainly do not work for Bass or stocks would not be in the state that they are, the only way they will recover is for a ban on taking them for the pot.
 

markg

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By Ron Sturdy "I will not bore you with a blow-by-blow account of how this has come about"
Reply by Crow "Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz "
I love you Crow, you never let me down. have a happy Christmas you old Curmudgeon.

Seriously for a moment-most experienced sea anglers will always put school bass back, holiday makers well, that's a different story but if or when they progressed they would know the score. And it is a point, Bass have had quotas, restrictions for some years now and yet here we are to quote Ronny, "its crunch time". Its the same for many species and Cod are by no means safe either. I would be happy with quotas if 50% of endangered species over 50% of their areas had recovered by 50%. I would be hopeful if that was 25% in all parts even 15% might give me some glimmer of joy.
 

Peter Jacobs

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Peter, all the zones that have been set up faced the same problems, there is nothing unique about the seas around the EU and Britain.

I would argue that on the contrary the seas around the UK coast are indeed unique inasmuch as the fishing rights are shared by many different countries and overseen by the EU and other organisations.

Within these countries there are many different approaches to commercial fishing and it is difficult enough to get full agreement (by QM) within the EU over quotas let alone any attempt at instigating exclusion zones, and even then the policing would be difficult to impossible.

It would unarguably be suicidal for the UK to unilaterally make an exclusion zone unless well within their own national waters, so maybe a sensible full moratorium on Bass fishing, commercial as well as recreational, might be the best way forward . . . . even then there is always the problem or by-catch . . . . .
 
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markg

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Peter, do you seriously don't think all these places had these same problems to quote you, fishing rights shared by different countries, overseen by different organizations, different approaches to commercial fishing, policing. They overcame them because there was the will, a recognition that something different was needed to be tried, that their fish stocks were failing, present efforts were not doing enough. Which applies to Britain and the EU except there is no real will to do anything about it, to difficult, ignore the evidence and plod on....
 

Peter Jacobs

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Some of those countries may have had similar problems but not to the same intensity or geographical closeness of the UK and our European Neighbours, especially in the north sea zones.

In the EU zone we have seen pretty successful quota limits over the last 20 odd years, and especially with Cod.

The CFP and the conservation policies have been, and still are, subject to one of the few "exclusive competences" that are reserved to decision by the QMV whereas the general fishing policy is still within the gift of the Council of the European Union. So there will be strong differences of opinion even between, or rather, intra-EU.

When we depart the EU it will become even more difficult for the UK unless some adherence I agreed for the CFP and the general fishing policies.

You had I have discussed this previously as I see little or no common ground so we will have to agree to disagree . . . . .
 

markg

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Some of those countries may have had similar problems but not to the same intensity or geographical closeness of the UK and our European Neighbours, especially in the north sea zones.

In the EU zone we have seen pretty successful quota limits over the last 20 odd years, and especially with Cod.

The CFP and the conservation policies have been, and still are, subject to one of the few "exclusive competences" that are reserved to decision by the QMV whereas the general fishing policy is still within the gift of the Council of the European Union. So there will be strong differences of opinion even between, or rather, intra-EU.

When we depart the EU it will become even more difficult for the UK unless some adherence I agreed for the CFP and the general fishing policies.

You had I have discussed this previously as I see little or no common ground so we will have to agree to disagree . . . . .
I understand any area of the sea is unique as to who, what, which countries, which organizations jurisdiction, geography, species but the same fundamental problems apply wherever they are. I small group of islands, the Bering Sea or Britain and the EU. Its never been easy for any of them getting agreement but there are quite a few successful examples to show it can be done.
But we will leave there, maybe we can take it up again in 2020 or 2021. Stick around.
 

markg

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My view is that no one needs to take a bass for the table.

So why does Ron tell us how serious it is then seek to allow it?

Personally my contribution is to never buy a bass from any retailers. If we all did this it would help. (Accept that it would lead to greater exporting)

Thats the message the Angling Trust should be giving, Europe wide

Bass are stunning fish.
I was a bit surprised by Ronnies assertion that pleasure anglers should be able to take one Bass per session, it may not do a lot of harm but its not within the spirit of what he says on one hand or what others are trying to achieve. But then the main thrust of his article all written in bold is his exertions to tell us we have to join the Angling Trust. I think the subject matter is secondary to that. I think he might have rushed the first bit to get to what he really wanted to say.
 
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