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EU Ministers meet to discuss fairer deal for bass anglers

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David Mitchell, Angling Trust Head of Marine, says that evidence often ‘counts for nothing in shady process of a political deal’.

A fairer deal for bass anglers is high on the agenda at a meeting of EU Ministers in Brussels today and tomorrow.

The EU Commission has already recommended that this year’s ruling be rolled-over into 2020, meaning anglers would remain limited to one fish per day from April 1 to October 31.

But members of the European Anglers Alliance (EAA) have been lobbying for a three fish per day allowance for that seven-month period.

Calculations show that three fish per day would still be within the limits scientists say will allow stocks to rebuild, says the UK’s Angling Trust, an EAA member, in a media statement.

“However, experience has shown us that evidence often counts for nothing in the shady and secret process of political deal that the EU negotiations involve,” said the Trust’s Head of Marine, David Mitchell.

“This should be the last year the UK takes part directly in the EU process. So while it’s frustrating to be in this situation once again, we are looking forward to breaking free from this charade when the UK leaves the EU and can start making its own decisions.”

The Trust’s statement goes on to say: “The Angling Trust has provided evidence showing that the impact of increasing the bag limit, and giving the angling public a greater share of the catch, is justifiable scientifically and socially, after recreational catches were cut to the bone in recent years, and extinguished altogether for most of 2018.”

The EAA aims to restore as quickly as possible the angling public’s share of the bass catch to approximately 25 per cent of the total – where it was in 2014 before the EU management measures were introduced. 

The Commission’s proposed roll-over would mean commercial landings would remain the same in 2020. The decision of the EU Fisheries Ministers is expected in the early hours of Wednesday, December 18.

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