Following revised advice from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) from 1 October to 31 December 2018 anglers fishing in Ireland will be allowed to keep one bass a day.
ICES submitted revised advice for bass in the ICES divisions covering the central and southern North Sea, Irish Sea, English Channel, Bristol Channel, and Celtic Sea for 2018. This includes all Irish coasts including those parts of Donegal omitted from the previous regulation.
According to the advice recreational angling does not impact on bass stocks to the degree previously assumed. In addition, ICES estimated a higher survival rate from catch-and-release (a 95 % survival rate compared to the previously estimated 85 %). In their view it is appropriate that one fish per fisherman per day may be retained in recreational fisheries that take place in October – December 2018. A minimum size limit of 42cm applies.
The amendment to relevant regulation is as follows:
In Article 9 of Regulation (EU) 2018/120, paragraph 4 is replaced by the following:
“4. In recreational fisheries, including from shore:
(a) from 1 January 2018 to 30 September 2018, in ICES divisions 4b, 4c, 7a to 7k, only catch-and-release fishing for European seabass shall be allowed. During that period, it shall be prohibited to retain on board, relocate, tranship or land European seabass caught in that area;
(b) from 1 October to 31 December 2018, in ICES divisions 4b, 4c, 6a, 7a to 7k, not more than one specimen of European seabass may be retained per fisherman per day.”.
The strict bass management regime currently operating for Irish waters is based on a heavily controlled and restricted recreational fishery. Bass anglers have an extremely positive approach to bass conservation using ‘catch and release’ alongside good handling in order to maintain the species and their recreational activity.
Inland Fisheries Ireland would like to acknowledge the support of anglers for Inland Fisheries Ireland’s ‘Citizen Science’ Bass Conservation Programme. Anglers, through their conservation-oriented ethos, have been the key stakeholders in supporting research into bass stock status over the past five years by providing catch and fish stock data, which has underpinned provision of scientific and management advice.