Environment & Conservation.

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Latest Bass Briefing information


Bass are in great danger October 2014.


It is likely that all of them will be caught in the next few years.
Once driven to near extinction, no one knows if bass will ever recover. 
Or if like the cod on the Grand Banks, once gone will they be gone forever?

All sea anglers  can help bass survive by taking the time to tell your locally elected politicians that you'd like them to respond to your concerns.

The following notes and links to detailed information have been prepared by the  Welsh Federation of Sea Anglers.
Please use them to express your concern to those with the power to actually do something now to stop the worst happening. 

There are lots of developing responses to the science advice - from Common Fishery Policy Advisory Councils;  from the European Anglers Alliance;  from Welsh Government Fisheries (and WFSA has had some input here); from Angling Trust in England, from DEFRA itself the advisor to UK government.

What's needed now is pressure to get politicians to act.

The need is urgent as, at last, the scientific advice supports what many of us have said for some years.


Scientific Advice

The full advice is at:   www.ices.dk/sites/pub/.../Advice/2014/2014/bss-47.pdf

In summary it says:
Catches are not known accurately but declared commercial landings in 2013 were 4,132t, plus an estimated take by recreational sea anglers of 1,500t.  That's a total of about 5,500t and is likely to be an underestimate as undeclared commercial catches and those of fish sold by unlicensed fishermen have not been counted.

The spawning stock biomass of bass is estimated to be 10, 000t.

Recruitment to the stock from fish hatch has been very poor since 2008.

ICES, the scientists who advise EU, recommend reducing catches to not more than 1,155 t in 2015, if there is to be any recovery of stocks.

That requires the EU and member states (mainly France, UK, Netherlands and Belgium) to propose ways to reduce catch by 80%.


The future

If catches are not reduced,  and given that there are also unrecorded additional catches, it is likely that numbers of bass will be driven to extinction in two or three years.

In any event, recovery will be slow: the science predicts that even with a zero catch in 2015, the spawning stock would increase by only 9% in 2016. 

But if nothing is done near extinction is certain.  No one knows what might happen if bass are driven to that point.  People fear that as happened to  the Grand Bank cod stocks, ecological changes may prevent recovery from very low levels.

There are 10,000 t of fish of breeding size, but very few young fish from spawning years since 2008 .  It takes a baby fish at least 4 to 7 years to reach breeding size.  They grow at a rate of between 3 and 7 cm a year and females only breed at 42 cm. Cold winter weather reduces growth and can kill fish in nursery areas.

It is essential that all decisions regarding fishing measures for bass should be assessed in relation to their potential effect on the spawning stock biomass.


The Decision Makers
Measures for 2015 will be determined at a meeting of EU Ministers in December. 

The EU Commissioner in the New Commission is Karmenu Vella, a Maltese politician.  His department of marine and fisheries now combines with environment.  He will prepare the bass proposals for the EU meeting.

The UK Minister is Parliamentary under Secretary of State for farming, food and marine environment, Mr George Eustace MP. He will go to the EU meeting.

Before then he will meet with Ministers from Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

In Wales, the Minister for Natural Resources has responsibility for fisheries.  He is Carl Sergeant AM.
His department is also the executive, responsible for sea fish management and enforcement.

Your own local Member of Parliament can pass on your concerns to Mr Eustace; your constituency Assembly Member and those additional members in your Welsh region can contact to Mr Sergeant; and any of the four Members of the European Parliament are able to approach Mr Vella.

Want to impress upon the UK Minister that proposals for bass management at EU level must deliver the huge cutbacks in catch required by the scientific advice. 
Moreover, it is important that in the event that the agreed measures fall short of an 80% cut, the Minister should introduce measures to ensure that UK catches at least are reduced by this amount. 

It is perhaps more important to us in Wales - given the significance of bass to tourism and to visiting RSA- that measures introduced here should achieve the levels needed to allow the bass stock to survive.


Please feel free to feedback to WFSA and to others on your conversations with your MP or AM.
They have to listen and should want to help put across your point of view, even if they don't agree fully with you. But please be polite and remember we can offer back up if more information is needed.


Elected politicians

Member of Parliament
Either ask for a meeting or go along to a surgery, advertised in your local paper: try to get feedback as to what s/he does and then keep in contact to help as the decisions develop.


Assembly Members
There are 40 each linked directly to a single constituency and another 20, four  from each of five regions covering the constituencies. 

In this link they are listed by region and constituency and you can get their contact details from it.
Again, you can contact all 5 elected for your area, or choose fewer.


European Members of Parliament

There are four for all Wales
May be easier to e-mail or write unless you can find one in your area.  They all cover the whole of Wales so you might prefer to speak to one whose Party you prefer or who you know is in/from your area.

Their postal addresses in Brussels are:
European Parliament
Rue Wiertz
Altiero Spinelli 13G257
1047 Brussels

Their names and home locations where known (local papers may help you see if they have home surgeries

Derek Vaughan (Wrexham)
Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament
Constituency: Wales’s

National party: Labour Party

Nathan Gill
Non-attached Members

Constituency: Wales
National party: United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP)

Dr Kay Swinburne (Cardiff)
European Conservatives and Reformists Group
Constituency: Wales

National party: Conservative Party
Jill Evans (Rhondda)

Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance
Constituency: Wales

National party: Plaid Cymru
45 Gelligaled Road

Rhondda Cynon Taf