Closing the sea bass fishery in the West Country from January to March will increase fish stocks and boost the tourist industry according to the Countryside Alliance.

The Alliance is backing the Bass Angling Sportfishing Society’s (BASS) management plan which has been submitted to DEFRA, recommending the halting of bass pair trawling for the duration to allow spawning to take place.

Campaign for Angling Director Charles Jardine commented: “A recent study in Scotland showed that angling is more important to the economy than golf. In the West Country sea bass are an important resource and must be protected.

“We would like to endorse and wholly condone the recommendations the BASS has made. Enhancing bass stocks is great news for the conservation of a species which draws so many angling tourists to the region. Tourism and the local economy would benefit from these plans which the Government should adopt.

“But we would also urge anglers to support this initiative and suggest that they don’t catch their limit, but limit their catch. Anglers should be aware of the very great benefit that this fish has for a great number of people in the area.”