FISHERMEN in Cornwall are being reminded about a new Environment Agency byelaw to protect bass in the county’s estuaries.
The byelaw, approved by DEFRA, increases the minimum landing size for bass caught in Cornish estuaries from 36 centimetres (cm) to 37.5 cm. 
The move means that the bass size limit is now the same for catches off the coast and in estuaries ending years of confusion caused by differing sizes in Agency byelaws and Cornwall Sea Fisheries byelaws. The anomaly also made it difficult to prove cases against those taking undersize fish.
It is now illegal to retain any bass caught anywhere in Cornwall, out to the six mile limit, if it is below 37.5 cm in length.
Special weatherproof signs depicting life-size bass have been commissioned by the Agency to remind fisherman of the new law. These will be placed in every port, harbour and cove and in angling shops throughout the county.
“Now the law has been simplified and there is no ambiguity on the minimum landing size for bass in Cornwall we will be increasing our checks on anglers and commercial fishermen to make sure undersized fish are not being taken,” said Mark Pilcher for the Environment Agency.
Bass are slow growing, long lived fish and a 37.5cm long specimen (measured from the tip of its snout to the extreme end of its tail fin) will be about six years old. They can live up to 30 years.