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 have been implemented on both commercial and recreational fishermen, and those restrictions are contained in the new TACs and Quotas Regulation.
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 1 January to 30 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 (NB: 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 (NB: 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
In ICES Areas IVb, IVc, VIIa, VIId, VIIe, VIIf, VIIg, VIIh
from 1 January to 30 June 2016 catch and release only permitted
from 1 July to 31 December 2016 one bass per fisherman per day
In ICES areas VIIj and VIIk
from 1 January to 31 December 2016 one bass per fisherman per day
Recreational fisheries include fishing from the shore.