09 February 2018
The EU has announced a move to protect bass by adopting a similar approach to the one introduced by Jersey 12 months ago.
Stricter measures to regulate bass fishing in Jersey came into force in January 2017. Only a very small number of smaller-scale commercial fishermen were licensed to catch bass using a hook and line in Jersey, everyone else had to fish for bass on a ‘catch and release’ basis, where fish are captured, unhooked and returned to the water. At the same time, tighter controls were introduced on gill netting to stop fishermen catching fish indiscriminately.
The small number of commercial hook and line permits were issued under stricter criteria and with significantly lower catch limits than in the UK. These fishermen have had to provide details of all bass caught, whether kept or returned, and the department has gained some very helpful data on size distribution to assist the monitoring and managing of this fishery.
The successful line caught bass tagging scheme, introduced in 2017, run in conjunction with Genuine Jersey will also continue for this year. The initiative lets diners and shoppers choose local line caught sustainable and well-regulated bass.
The Minister for the Environment Deputy Steve Luce has announced that the bass management measures for recreational fishing in Jersey – a catch and release-only fishery – will remain in place. The EU Fisheries Council has also put in place the same measure for 2018.
Deputy Luce said "We made some difficult decisions this time last year but did so based on the best evidence available. Whilst there have been some reports of more positive bass stocks locally, the wider outlook remains poor and in many ways vindicates the tough choices that we made. The rest of the EU is now coming in line with our bold management measures from 12 months ago."
The EU has agreed tighter controls on commercial fishermen, including a reduction in by-catch and further restrictions on the limited fisheries that can target bass. By-catch limits have also been reduced on Jersey licensed demersal trawlers and will be the same as those on EU vessels. Jersey already has tighter controls than the EU on commercial netting.
As with the recreational fishermen, the comprehensive measures in place will remain the same for the vast majority of Jersey’s commercial fishermen, although some metiers will see a reduction in monthly by-catch allowed together with a complete closure during February and March.