How man bass can anglers keep per day? The limit looks set to be raised from zero, to one….

This Thursday (September 27th) the EU Council is expected to adopt a measure allowing the public to keep one recreationally-caught bass per day from October 1st for the remainder of 2018.

The Angling Trust and Save Our Sea Bass (SOSB) have been working tirelessly with the European Angers Alliance (EAA) over the last nine months campaigning for a bag limit for recreational catches to be reinstated after a ban was introduced in January following flawed scientific advice on the impact of recreational fishing.

The Council of Ministers agreed at the time of the ban that the scientific evidence needed reviewing after which the ban on recreational landings might be lifted.

In June, following a review of the science, new evidence was published which reduced the impact of recreational fishing by 87 per cent from 1,600 tonnes down to approximately 200 tonnes giving ample scope for the reintroduction of a bass bag limit.

David Mitchell, Head of Marine at the Angling Trust and Chairman of the European Anglers Alliance Sea Sub-Group, said: “The British public who fish for sea bass sustainably and for their own consumption have suffered a terrible injustice in 2018 due to a massive overestimate in the impact they were having on the stock.

We are very pleased that the right of those who wish to catch and eat a publicly-owned sea bass is due to be re-established for the remainder of the year. However, banning the public from catching sea fish for personal consumption in the first instance, particularly while allowing commercial fishing to continue, displays contempt for the rights of the public and highlights a chronic failing of the Common Fisheries Policy to see recreational fishing as an equal stakeholder in EU fisheries. It cannot be allowed to happen again.”

David Curtis from Save Our Seabass added: “It now seems inevitable that the public’s sea angling bag limit for bass will be reinstated on 1 October – and about time too. Sea anglers are the biggest stakeholder in the bass fishery by far and the most sustainable – the decision to remove the bag limit was fundamentally flawed. We are pushing for an increase in the bag limit in 2019. Sea anglers have been unfairly hit by hugely disproportionate restrictions, whilst for many commercials it has been business as usual.”

A study1 conducted for the European Parliament confirmed that, the total economic impact of marine recreational fishing amounts to 10.5 billion euro, supporting almost 100,000 jobs.

Once the bag limit is restored for the remainder of 2018 the Angling Trust and its partners will be addressing proposals for next year due to be determined in December and will be pressing to raise the allowance to three fish a day for a nine-month period to bring the rules more in line with those of the commercial hook and line fishers.

Media contacts: David Mitchell, Head of Marine at the Angling Trust, on 07946 263131 |

David Curtis, Director at Save our Sea Bass, on 07768 876297

References: 1. “Research for PECH Committee – Marine recreational and semi-subsistence fishing – its value and its impact on fish stocks”; Kieran Hyder et al. (2017). View the paper here.

Images: EAA representatives attend the ICES bass benchmarking session in Copenhagen in February where the science was reviewed.