EU sea bass measures
The European Commission has announced new measures to avert the collapse of declining sea bass stocks and implemented an emergency ban on fishing stocks during the spawning season which runs up until the end of April.
It said that this will be complemented by further measures to help ensure that all those who fish sea bass make a balanced and fair contribution towards saving the stock.
Karmenu Vella, European Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, said: “The impact of this stock collapsing would be catastrophic for the livelihoods of so many fishermen and coastal communities.”
The ban on pelagic trawling of the stock will remain in place until 30 April 2015 and will apply to stocks in the Channel, Celtic Sea, Irish Sea and southern North Sea.
Pelagic trawling is a major source of mortality and reduces spawning stock by around 25%, according to the Commission.
Therefore, in order to help the sea bass stock recover, the Commission is currently working on a package of measures to manage both commercial and recreational fisheries more sustainably.
For recreational fishing, which accounts for 25% of sea bass catches, this would include a limit of three fish per day per angler. Member States would also need to set a minimum size of 42cm so that fish are not caught, or are released, before they have reproduced.
Meanwhile, for other commercial fisheries aside from pelagic trawling, limiting catches is also on agenda. The Commission is working with the Member States involved to prepare a proposal to the Council of Ministers as soon as possible.
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