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Society calling on anglers to protest over ban on Bass.

THE Bass Anglers' Sport Fishing Society (BASS), the angling body set up to protect the future of our most popular sporting sea fish, is urging all anglers to protest at the EU directive that came in force on January 1 that includes angling in a ban on taking bass until June 30 and then a limit of one bass per day from July to December.

Passed in Brussels using a Statutory Instrument and with no previous debate in the British parliament; the new law effectively makes it a criminal offence carrying a huge fine to catch and keep a bass in Northern European waters that include the UK, Ireland and France.

The Society is describing as" rubbish" EU claims that 25% of the total annual bass catch is taken by anglers and emphasises anglers are the ones who fish for bass most selectively and sustainably and the vast majority return their catch.

The EU wants to reduce the landings of bass by 46% from 2856 tonnes last year to 1449 for 2016; but inshore gill netters, who are unselective in their catch and throw back dead, undersized fish will still be allowed to take 1 tonne of bass per month through the second half of the year and industrial scale trawling by mainly Spanish and French vessels will continue.

Scientists studying the decline of bass stocks recommend a lower 541tonnes landing limit for 2016 to preserve stock levels and BASS suggests the obvious way to achieve this without a complete ban on all bass landings would be to raise the minimum landing size of fish to 50cm and make all bass fishing hook and line only. This would maximise market value, be the most selective means of catching and would allow fish of the wrong size or species to be returned. It would also allow smaller fish to breed at least once and also preserve the big and most fertile fish.

BASS also wants allocated fishing opportunities based on environmental and socioeconomic criteria as required by Article 17 of the Common Fisheries Policy and a complete ban on commercial targeting of prespawning and spawning aggregations of bass.

A ban on angling for bass could have serious consequences for Wales where charter boats, tackle shops and all forms of holiday accommodation depend to some extent on bass anglers and the fishing that attracts them.

Britain contributes PS1 billion a month to the EU so surely the country's millions of anglers and the economy they support should have been considered before the drafting of legislation that lacks fire power to control the real culprits and is partly aimed at the wrong target.

Take a look at the BASS website www.ukbass.com and add your support.

CAPTION(S):

Newport and District SAC Junior winners, front (left to right) Katie Boardman, Sophie Butler and Junior Champion Jayden Francis. Back ( left to right ) Arran Boardman Owain Butler and Owain Osmond.

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jan 8, 2016
Words:486
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