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New initiative helps Islanders choose local bass

07 September 2017

A new tagging initiative that will let diners and shoppers choose local bass caught using a sustainable hook and line fishery has been launched by the Department of the Environment and the Jersey Fisherman’s Association.

Just 12 local fishing businesses have permission to catch bass using a hook and line, and to sell it on to local shop and restaurants.

Bass caught this way will be tagged so they’re easily identifiable to diners. The tamperproof tags will be clipped through the mouth and gills of the fish and will identify the boat that landed them.

Shops and restaurants supporting the scheme will be able to display a Genuine Jersey logo on their menus showing consumers that the fish for sale come from a local, sustainable and well-regulated source.

The Minister for the Environment, Deputy Steve Luce said ‘Identifying local, sustainable bass sold and served in Jersey has been a long standing wish of mine and I’m delighted we’ve been able to work together to make it happen. It means people can be assured that if they choose Genuine Jersey bass, it’s come from local waters, caught by a local boat and is part of a range of measure designed to protect our fish stocks.’

Don Thompson, Jersey Fishermen’s Association, said ‘This scheme represents considerable effort on behalf of the Minister, fisheries officers, and Genuine Jersey as well as the professional fishermen. It's aimed at preservation of our bass stocks, while at the same time providing consumers with the option of purchasing local, sustainably-caught fish. We hope that the public will, by purchasing Genuine Jersey-labelled fish, recognise the efforts of our fishermen to conserve bass stocks.'

Genuine Jersey Chief Executive John Garton said ‘We welcome the bass fisherman to the Genuine Jersey community and indeed any scheme which would encourage and promote sustainable living from local produce. We hope consumers will make the ethical choice in choosing bass which bears the Genuine Jersey mark, which will not only deliver superior taste and quality but will also be supporting the local fishing industry.’

Due to dwindling stocks across Europe, the Minister for the Environment introduced strict new measures to conserve bass earlier this year. These included limiting netting and dredging to a small bycatch and only allowing 12 boats with a proven track record in bass fishing to target the species by hook and line fishery.

Bass fishing for recreational fishermen is only allowed on a ‘catch and release’ basis, where fish are captured, unhooked and returned to the water.

The fishermen involved are also helping the Environment Department by gathering additional data on all catches of bass on a weekly basis so the Department of the Environment can track the fishery and consider how best to manage the stock in 2018 and beyond.

These changes are the latest in a series of measures introduced in recent years to conserve the bass fishery. They take into account new information from the EU Fisheries Council and advice from Jersey’s own Marine Resources Panel.

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