Aug 21,2006 00:00
In a letter to the EU Fisheries Minister Jo Borg, UK commercial bass fisherman Steve Gathergood has called on the EU to introduce increased protection for European Bass Stocks, leading to a level playing field for UK fishermen.
Mr Gathergood's call comes at a time when there are worrying signs that the bass stocks are beginning to show the first signs of collapse, with relatively few mature fish in the population now and signs that recent year groups are smaller than average.
There are fears that with few larger spawners in the stock, one or two more cold winters like the last will prove disasterous for future bass recruitment.
Mr Gathergood is calling on the next next European Fisheries Commissioners committee asking that:
1 That the committee consider adopting as a matter of policy to have a closed fishing season on Bass from the 1 of January to the 31 of march each year so as the spawning stock of Bass may spawn unhindered also this will resolve the matter of Dolphin mortality within this fishery.
(The full text of Mr Gathergood's letter can be read h e r e )
Mr Gathergood's proposals are similar to those presented in a petition to the committee earlier this year by French and UK Anglers, and echos calls by French fishermen to introduce a close season to protect bass from Winter Pair Trawling.
The UK Fisheries Minister Ben Bradshaw is quoted as saying that he prefers the new MLS to apply across the EU and will be pushing for this.
Following the introduction of the new MLS, DEFRA are intending to consult on further measures to protect bass which will include "closed areas and/or seasons".