Bass Emergency Byelaw – Consultation

Eastern IFCA is considering the implementation of an Emergency Byelaw for the protection of spawning aggregations of bass (Dicentrarchus labrax) within the district.

Bass stocks are currently in a very poor state and ICES advice for fishing opportunities in 2017 was for a precautionary approach and for no bass to be taken.

Recently implemented European bass regulations aim to reduce fishing mortality on bass (see MMO website for more details).

Commercial fishing for bass using hook and line is the only permitted method of targeting the species but it is prohibited during February and March, when bass commonly form spawning aggregations. Bass within the southern North Sea continue to spawn into April, May and June and as such an emergency byelaw to extend the prohibition to include those months may be required.

Intended effects of the emergency byelaw

The byelaw will prohibit the removal of bass from the fishery using hook-and-line fishing gears (such as rods or long-lines) during April, May and June. In addition, it will be prohibited to retain on board, relocate, tranship or land bass caught by hooks and line from within the district.

This is ultimately an extension of the measures introduced by the European Commission, which prohibits the targeting of bass by hook-and-line during February and March.

The paper to the Authority setting out the case for regulation can be found on the Eastern IFCA website (agenda item 18).

Consultation with stakeholders

In order to determine the need for the byelaw and its potential impacts, Eastern IFCA is calling for information from commercial bass fishers.

The decision on whether or not to introduce an emergency byelaw will take account of the potential impacts on the industry and will be made by the end of March 2017.

Please click the link below to download a questionnaire. The deadline for responses is the 24th March 2017.

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[Emergency Bass Byelaw Questionnaire]
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