2015 Sea Bass Stocks In Trouble

Whitby Sea Anglers » Bass Fishing » 2015 Sea Bass Stocks In Trouble

2015 Sea Bass Stocks In Trouble

Seabass sinking into deep trouble as European states fail to agree on adequate rescue package – Iconic fish faces uncertain future, says Marine Conservation Society

UK Bass Record - John Locker Whitby

UK Bass Record – John Locker Whitby

The UK’s leading marine charity, the Marine Conservation Society (MCS), says a fish that has become a restaurant favourite in recent years requires urgent help from European states if the fishery is to be saved from a complete crash. The charity says a temporary ban on all fishing for seabass should not be discounted.

Seabass is an iconic species which is popular with both restaurants and retailers, but one that has been subject to overfishing for many years.

Since 2008, recruitment of young fish into the main seabass stock in the Northeast Atlantic has been poor, and since 2010, the size of the population has been rapidly decreasing and is on track to plummet to levels from which it may struggle to recover.

The latest scientific advice from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) indicates the situation for seabass is getting worse.

Samuel Stone, Fisheries Officer at the Marine Conservation Society, says that not enough is being done to reverse the fortunes of seabass: “Lack of agreement between EU member states over how to manage this valuable stock leaves the fish and its fishermen facing a very uncertain future.

Fishery management measures that sufficiently reduce catches are urgently needed to reverse the fortunes of this fish; if such measures cannot be agreed and implemented quickly, a complete moratorium on fishing for seabass may well be necessary in the foreseeable future”.

While much of the seabass sold in the UK comes from farmed sources, a significant amount is wild caught. Last year ICES, the scientific body which provides advice on seabass in the EU, recommended total catches of both recreational and commercial fisheries be decreased by a massive 80% to prevent further decline of the stock.

Due to continued disagreement between Member States on management of seabass, the European Commission had to apply emergency measures between January and April 2015, banning pelagic trawling during the spawning period. Subsequently, a three fish bag-limit for recreational fishermen and restrictions on catches for commercial fisheries, as well as an extension of the moratorium of commercial fishing for seabass around Ireland to include all vessels, have all been agreed by Member States.

These restrictions are predicted to reduce catches by only 60% for pelagic trawlers, 22% for demersal vessels and 6% for hook and line fisheries – a far cry from the 80% total reduction advised by ICES.

“New advice from ICES for bass fishery management in 2016 indicates that the stock is in an even worse state now than previously recorded. ICES are recommending catch totals of just a third of what was proposed last year for 2015, with only 541 tonnes recommended for 2016. Last year, the UK alone caught well over 1000 tonnes of seabass, with the French catch being even more than this at over 1300 tonnes. The stock is in rapid decline, and much more needs to be done – and urgently – to prevent this iconic and important fishery from collapsing.” says Samuel Stone.

By | 2018-03-23T08:48:29+00:00 September 28th, 2015|Bass Fishing, News|4 Comments

About the Author:

Site Administrator Glenn Kilpatrick has a passion for all types of sea angling. Past winner of the Whitby Sea Anglers fishing club on 2 occasions, Glenn now mainly focuses on summer fishing with bass and pollack being his favoured target fish. Glenn now also prefers Kayak Fishing over any other type of Sea Fishing.


  1. Micklemus75 December 22, 2015 at 7:10 pm - Reply

    Glenn I was pleased to see I’m not the only fish murderer in the country when it comes down to wanting to catch fish to eat. It must be something to do with the stone age deep rooted molecule that tells the angler to use a clear line & not one of those ridiculous pink ones etc etc etc! I’ve often wondered do the ones who always put fish back,fish with such tenacity as those of us who fish with the killer instinct ? One sure thing I’ve noticed is that the ones who advise us to put them back are always trying to convert the naughty boys to their way of thinking and never the other way round. I think also that those who try to convert us to their way of thinking are quite capable of telling lies to meet their own ends a sort of holier than thou approach. Many of them I fear through a lack of experience compared to those who know exactly what they are doing should really look to their own and not interfere. On the internet no one is quite sure in any case who these folks are and there is a distinct chance they may be anti angling or bailiffs or fishery officers.

    Why on earth do not all those who fish with a rod and line get their heads round the fact that it is irrefutably the nets that do the damage to fisheries whether it is in the sea or in the estuaries.
    It might be well worth considering that when those that are admired for putting their fish back do their
    bit for ‘conservation’ and the damn fish swims straight into a net not far from where they are fishing. Important it is to also be well aware that fish that swim into a net big or small cock or hen are dead. Netters do not give a stuff about rod anglers and never will……..

  2. Bigt April 3, 2016 at 3:26 am - Reply

    Mick lumps 75 How about forgetting about those negative comments towards other angler’s and maybe commend those people who return fish for doing their bit towards keeping what bass are left alive? I admire people who even think to return a fish to the sea and in my eyes that’s a real sea angler through and through so I don’t really like some of your if not all of your comments especially the last one putting a fish back and it swims into a net? Maybe so but at least the angler can hold his head high and say I tried to do my bit. People need to be more positive not negative like you and if you want to keep fish that’s fair enough but don’t slag the lads off who want to at least try to save a small portion of what’s left in the sea. Ps I’m not just a keyboard warrior I’ll say it to your face

    • Glenn Kilpatrick April 3, 2016 at 11:08 am - Reply

      How about doing your thing and being comfortable with what you do whilst accepting over people may or may not wish to do the same ?

      Im quite comfortable to see fish returned and can understand and anglers choice to do so, what Im struggling to understand is how some anglers feel themselves to be of greater standing in the angling world, somehow ascending to the higher grounds of morality and as such gaining supremacy over the lesser anglers who like to catch and eat their own fish.

  3. Bigt April 17, 2016 at 9:17 am - Reply

    The thing is glen is shouldn’t we all try to put the lesser species back like the bass? Just a thought because the trawlers don’t give a fuck the nutters don’t give a fuck but surely us sea angler’s should just chip in and at least try to make a difference with the problem with the declining bass stocks? I’ll be the first to say I have taken bass before but don’t now but I’m certainly not preaching to anyone just merely saying if we love fishing so much can’t we help out in a crisis

Leave A Comment