Bass: Ban on Gill Net Fisheries “Misguided and Harmful”


The NFFO has made it clear to Fisheries Minister, George Eustice, that the Commission’s proposal to extend the moratorium on fishing for bass with gill nets should be vigorously opposed.

NFFO President, Tony Delahunty said: “Without an appropriate
catch limit or viable bycatch allowance, as night follows day, this measure
will result in thousands of bass discarded dead next year. The Commission just
doesn’t seem to understand that bass will be caught as bycatch in gill nets, irrespective
of what measures are adopted in December. This will not help to reduce fishing
mortality on bass. But it will put the spotlight on discards and discard
policy. And not in a good way. This is introducing regulatory generated discards at the same time the same is being
phased out in other fisheries. It lacks consistency and it lacks sanity.”

“The measures that have been introduced in 2014, 2015 and
2016 have had a dramatic impact. Catches of bass have fallen dramatically. But
rebuilding the biomass will take some time – it depends on some decent year
classes coming through. This is a lesson that we learnt with North Sea cod. Steady
rebuilding will get us there but avoiding discards should be a key part of the
policy. Instead, the Commission has proposed a misguided and harmful measure –
harmful to the fishermen who will have to discard a vitally important part of
their catch and misguided because it will not affect fishing mortality one jot.”

“Working with fishermen on spatial and temporal measures to help
the avoid catching undersized bass in the first place would deliver more than
headline catching bans that are not with the paper they are written on.”

“The Commission’s blunt approach has already created a discard
problem in the trawl fishery where any bass caught over 1% have to be
discarded. The effective ban on landing bass from vessels using gill nets will
just bring this nonsense to a new level. It will be highly damaging to the many
small-scale fleets around the coast of
the UK.”