06 September 2016
Further steps to protect Jersey’s bass stocks are being proposed by the Minister for the Environment, Deputy Steve Luce.
Deputy Luce is proposing a change to the way certain fishing rules are administered in order to make it simpler and quicker to change the amount of fishing equipment that can lawfully be set on the beach.
Currently, fishing rules governing the use of ground lines and nets (that are set on the beach) are set out by Regulation. The Minister is asking the States Assembly to change this to an Order. If agreed, it will mean the authorities can respond more quickly to the latest evidence for managing bass stocks in Jersey waters.
Ground lines (also known as trots or trot lines) are baited hooks attached to a line, which often rests on the sand, and can't be set on the beach from 1 April to 15 October in any year.
The current limit is 50 hooks and 100m of net but following on from the latest evidence, which shows a further decline in bass stocks, the Minister is likely to propose a further reduction in the amount of hooks and net allowed (probably to zero while stocks continue to show a decline).
The Minister said “In a recent States debate, I said I would monitor the situation and bring back any further legislation to the Assembly as required. The latest statistics on bass stocks are not good and I want to be in a position to be able to act in a timely way, if and when required.
“These changes will benefit fish stocks immediately, and fishermen in the longer term. It is only right that I make my intentions clearly known for all those who fish using these methods.”
The Minister continued "Given the evidence available to us about the status of bass stocks, it is clear that further reductions are going to be necessary, and a complete ban is now a real possibility. I’ll continue to review the data as 2017 approaches, but commercial and recreational fishermen should be aware that the signs are not good. It is probable that in order to preserve bass stocks in the long term we may have to ban the taking of all bass in the short term."
He added "I've always said I wouldn't be afraid to make tough decisions - and preserving the Island's bass stock for future generations is vitally important.”
The amendments will be lodged with the Greffe as soon as the law drafting process is complete. In June the States Assembly agreed legislation for a package of measures (which came into force on 5 July) designed to protect and conserve bass stocks, including:
Increase in minimum size to 42cm
Maximum one fish per day per person for recreational fishers
Maximum limit of 50 hooks per person set on the beach
Maximum limit of 100 metres of net per person set on the beach
Increase to 110mm minimum mesh size for nets set on the beach
A permit will be required to drive on the beach to transport fishing equipment.