Good Fish Guide
Bass, seabass (Caught at sea)
Method of production - Caught at sea
Capture method - Gill net,Fixed net
Capture area - North East Atlantic (FAO 27)
Stock area - Cornwall
Stock detail - VIIe,f,g and h
Fish type - White round fish
Find out more at the Cornwall Good Seafood Guide
Until recently there were few management objectives or any TAC (Total Allowable Catch) agreed for the stock. Following representation by recreational sport anglers, the UK Government proposed to increase the minimum landing size (MLS) for wild seabass to 40 cm, but opposition from commercial fishermen thwarted the attempt and it was left at the EU MLS of 36cm, which fails to provide protection for immature seabass as the size at which females first spawn is 42cm.
In 2015 as part of a number of emergency measures introduced for the recovery of the stock the MLS was increased to 42cms. Further measures to reduce fishing mortality were adopted in 2016 and amended for fishing in 2017 as follows; A limit for fishing by fixed gill nets reduced from 1.3 tonnes to 250kg per vessel per month (closed season of February-March); Hook and line fisheries limited to 10 tonnes per annum (spread across ten months of the year); Daily by-catch from demersal trawls and seines of 3% (1% bycatch adopted in 2016), capped at 400kg per vessel per month; No provisions for other forms of netting, other than fixed gill net; Recreational angling restrictions remain unchanged: catch and release only for the first six months, followed by a I fish bag limit for the second half of the year. The European Anglers Alliance (EAA) estimate that in the UK, Ireland, France and the Netherlands there are at least 1 million recreational sea anglers who target seabass regularly and who increasingly adopt sustainable catch and release tactics when targeting the species.
It is predicted that these measures will result in a 37% reduction in UK commercial catches next year: a total catch of 322 tonnes. It is not yet clear what reductions these measures will achieve for other participating countries such as France and the Netherlands, so the total expected catch for 2017 is uncertain. If a 37% reduction is achieved across the whole fishery, MCS roughly estimates a total catch of 1000t.
In Ireland, a moratorium on commercial fishing for bass has been in effect since 1990 and the species is restrictively managed for its valuable recreational sector and angling tourism industry. Recreational fisheries in Ireland are subject to bag limits of 2 fish/24 hrs, a 40 cm minimum size limit, and a closed season from 15th May to 15th June annually.
The UK also has 37 designated bass nursery areas with fishing restrictions in UK legislation to protect young bass.
Based on method of production, fish type, and consumer rating: only fish rated 2 and below are included as an alternative in the list below . Click on a name to show the sustainable options available.
Sign up to get all the latest marine related news from MCS
The UK charity for the protection of our seas, shores and wildlife.