New protections taking effect for seabass

Published on
August 11, 2015

New restrictions on the fishing of seabass (Dicentrarchus labrax) by U.K. fishermen, including the introduction of a minimum catch size, will come into effect from as early as 1 September. The move follows action by the U.K. government to protect the iconic but threatened species, announced Fisheries Minister George Eustice.

The new controls are the result of continued lobbying in Europe to introduce new commercial and recreational fishing restrictions for bass. It’s hoped these measures will address the long-term decline in bass stocks and support fishermen in the future by ensuring sustainable bass fishing and angling.

From next month, fishermen and anglers will be prevented from catching juvenile bass under 42cm in size, giving female bass the chance to grow to an age where they can spawn. This will strengthen stocks by creating a new generation of fish to catch more sustainably.

“We’ve been consistent in Europe on the need to protect seabass and the measures we’ve secured this year are vital to improving the health of our stocks,” said Eustice.

“We can’t be complacent, and while these measures are a significant step in kick-starting progress we have to ensure any recovery is sustained. That’s why we’ll be working closely with EU member states, fishermen and anglers to build on this success and secure long-term improvement in the years to come.”

The U.K. government worked closely with the European Commission and EU member states to develop a package that includes:

  • A daily three-fish bag limit per person for recreational anglers
  • Monthly catch limits for commercial fishing vessels
  • A ban on all EU commercial fishing in areas around Ireland, excluding the Bristol Channel and other areas inside the United Kingdom’s 12-mile zone
  • A minimum conservation reference size of 42cm to allow female fish to grow to spawning age
Contributing Editor reporting from London, UK

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