Bass Society demands urgent government action.
John Leballeur, Chairman of the Bass Anglers’ Sportfishing Society (BASS) Restoration Project Team says “In over 20 years of bass sampling I have never seen a period when the numbers of young bass have been so low for so long”.
Shocked by the emerging evidence the society has written to Jonathan Shaw, the UK Fisheries Minister, demanding urgent measures to halt the disastrous collapse, demanding that both the recreational and commercial bass fisheries are closed during the 3 month breeding season when spawning congregations of bass are particularly vulnerable, and suggesting the establishment of designated Marine Protection Areas designed to protect bass stocks.
Recommended as a species to be regarded as recreational only in the Prime Minister’s Strategy Units ‘Net Benefits’ report, bass was recently described by the current Fisheries Minister as ‘an important displacement species’ for the hard pressed commercial fishing industry when the Minister cancelled measures designed to protect the species last year, despite the superior value of the UK recreational bass fishery.
Even some commercial fishermen have since expressed concerns at the present unsustainable level of exploitation.
In his letter to the Minister, as well as offering the new evidence, John Leballeur points out to the Minister that he now faces a catastrophe on his watch as Fisheries Minister, unless he acts with urgency to bring in effective measures to protect the species.