Bass ban looms – but have we only got ourselves to blame?

A new proposal by the European Commission could impose a total ban on bass fi shing for six months of the year, and impose Catch and Release ONLY for the following six months.


n announcement by the European Commission that it is proposing to EU ministers that sea anglers should no longer be allowed to retain a single bass caught in 2018 (and face a complete ban on catch & release bass angling for six months of the year) has sparked fury amongst angling groups and charter boat skippers, particularly because the Commission is proposing permitting some forms of commercial fi shing. Angling Trust Chief Executive Mark Lloyd has written to UK Fisheries Minister George Eustice describing the proposals as “unfair, unworkable and disproportionate.” The Angling Trust, the Bass Anglers’


Dave Barham with a quality bass. Interestingly Dave has changed his views on a sea fi shing licence, now viewing it as an essential way to be sure sea angling has a voice.

Sportfi shing Society (BASS) and other organisations have been campaigning for the introduction of bass conservation measures for more than 20 years. But until three years ago fi shery managers and fi sheries ministers made little attempt to control and protect the fi shery, despite repeated warnings from scientists and conservation bodies that ever more draconian measures would become inevitable. Anglers and business owners have been given just two weeks to reply – with a decision expected to be announced mid-December.

10 | Tackle & Guns | Dec / Jan 18

Understandably, business owners and anglers are outraged. Paul Devlin, owner of Glasgow Angling Centre, said: “I was left speechless after these latest proposals. The government doesn’t seem to realise that there are many jobs at risk on the recreational side of fi shing and I have no doubt, if the latest proposals go through, there will be many job losses not just in the angling trade but in the hotel, guiding and restaurant industries that rely on many anglers fi shing for bass.” Paul’s views are echoed by David Mitchell, Head of Marine at the Angling Trust, who said: “Many people aren’t aware of the huge economic value of sea angling and how many jobs and businesses it supports. The angling and tourism industries rely on people being allowed to and choosing to go sea fi shing. If they aren’t allowed to fi sh for or keep a single fi sh they catch then they simply won’t go fi shing and many in the industry will lose their livelihoods.” But many are asking, is this a

problem of our own making? Industry stalwart and Sea Angler contributor, Dave Barham, told T&G: “My gut feeling is that this

ban will go ahead. We’ll have to wait and see but they’ve really given no time for anyone to respond. “The problem here is that we fl out

fi gures about numbers of recreational sea anglers around that aren’t true – and then decisions are made by that. “The Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) did a study back in 2012 where they ‘found’ that there were 884,000 sea anglers in the UK – a fi gure often banded around by the Angling Trust. Of course, we all in the trade know this to be bullsh*t – but the powers that be in the EU have taken it and infl ated it further. They say there are 1.15m sea anglers in the UK! Is it any surprise that we are facing this ban then? I’d say no… not if the powers that be think there are that many of us out there taking bass. “For the record, I honestly believe that the true fi gure of sea anglers out there is about 250,000 – and that includes holiday makers. Three months ago if you’d have asked me whether we should have a sea fi shing licence I’d have said categorically NO! Now I’m not so sure…” T&G will report on the outcome of the proposed bass ban in the next issue.

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