Europe’s top representative bodies for recreational fishing have published a position paper on sea bass for 2019, which includes a call for a three-fish bag limit in northern waters.
EFTTA and the European Anglers Alliance (EAA) are also appealing to the European Council of Ministers and the European Commission for a restoration of the right of the public to a fair share on sea bass. The paper says: “The recreational sector has been loyal and supportive to the cuts made in its bass fishing opportunities in recent years due to concerns over the depleted stock. “The recreational sector has been consistently hit much harder by management measures than the commercial sector. What always was a hard sell has now become a reason for distrust of Europe’s institutions for millions of anglers all over the region.” In calling for a three-bass bag limit for northern bass, instead of the proposed one fish, the paper points out that catches by anglers have remained relatively stable over the years, while commercial catches have increased dramatically.
It is also recommending a seven-month open season for bass fishing and a minimum size limit of 42cm for both northern and southern bass. The issues will be discussed at a European Council of Ministers meeting next month. Jan Kappel, EFTTA Public Affairs Officer, said: “The steady decrease in the anglers’ share of the total catches is unacceptable. In recent years anglers and recreational fishing-dependent businesses have suffered a lot because of severe bass catch restrictions. This year anglers could take home only one fish during three low months of the season.
“It is very difficult to climb up from this dark hole as the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) has made commercial fishing king and recreational fishing a subordinated nuisance to the king. We are working hard on achieving a better status for angling in the CFP, not only with regard to bass, but all species of angling interest.”