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Confusion reigns over European bass ban

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EFTTA EU lobbyist Jan Kappel says that the position regarding catching bass is unclear.

Proposals by the EU Commission for a complete ban on bass fishing have caused confusion among leading fishing bodies in Europe.

The proposals, which call for the cessation of all bass fishing by commercial vessels and recreational anglers in the first half of 2016 and stringent new limits in the second half, were initially met with fierce opposition.

But now the European Anglers Alliance (EAA) has identified that the technical detail in the Commission’s proposal does not make it clear whether the January to June ban covers recreational fishing.

EAA Secretary General and EFTTA lobbyist Jan Kappel said that both organisations were working on input for the European Council of Ministers meeting on December 14th and 15th, where the proposal will be adopted, amended or dismissed.

“We are awaiting a revised proposal from the Commission as it is not clear that the proposed six-month ban includes recreational fishing,” Kappel told Angling International. “A press release says this is the case, but the proposed legislation only talks about ‘vessels’.”

David Mitchell, Marine Campaigns Manager for the UK’s Angling Trust, described the proposals as a ‘bit vague’, reiterating that confirmation was needed about whether the ban targets recreational fishing for, or retention of, bass.

In addition to the controversial ban, proposals for the second half of the year are for a monthly one ton catch limit for vessels targeting sea bass and a one fish bag limit for recreational anglers.

The Trust, an EAA member, published a response to the EU proposal saying that while it welcomed further restrictions on the commercial harvesting of bass, “it is monstrously unfair to lump all forms of bass fishing together” and that the Commission “is picking the wrong target.”

The Commission introduced new bass fishing management measures less than a year ago and followed this by enforcing catch limits as recently as June 2015. It says that it is now building on those measures to further slow the dramatic decline in bass stocks.


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