Throughout 2015 the European Commission has been working with member states and their scientific advisors on a range of measures to reduce bass fishing mortality.
However, stocks are continuing to decline and further measures have been put in place to protect bass. In 2016 additional restrictions are to be implemented on both commercial and recreational fishermen, and those restrictions will be published in the new TACs and Quotas Regulation this month.
Until the new regulation is published the existing measures in Council Regulation (EU) 2015/104 will continue to remain in force.
When the regulation has been published the MMO will issue a variation to all fishing vessel licence holders setting out the measures, which include:
For commercial fisheries:
a continued closure throughout 2016 to all commercial bass fishing in ICES Areas VIIb, VIIc, VIIj, VIIk and outside the UK 12nm in areas VIIa and VIIg;
From 1st January to 30th June 2016 a prohibition on commercial vessels fishing for bass in ICES Areas IVb, IVc, VIIa, VIId, VIIe, VIIf, VIIg, VIIh except for:
Demersal trawls and seines which are permitted a 1% bass by-catch; and
Hooks and lines and fixed gill nets which are permitted 1,300kg per vessel in January, April, May and June. This does not include drift net fisheries. The fishery is closed in February and March.
From 1 July to 31 December 2016 monthly catch limits apply to all vessels in ICES Areas IVb, IVc, VIIa, VIId, VIIe, VIIf, VIIg, VIIh 1,300kg per vessel per month for hooks and lines and fixed gill nets (this does not include drift net fisheries) 1,000kg per vessel per month for all other gears
The catch limits apply to a single vessel and cannot be transferred between vessels or between one month and another.
For recreational fisheries from 1 January to 30 June 2016 catch and release only permitted, from 1st July to 31st December 2016 one bass per fisherman per day.
On ICES areas VIIj and VIIkfrom 1 January to 31 December 2016 one bass per fisherman per day.
Recreational fisheries include fishing from the shore.