We would encourage all members and supporters to attend these CEFAS meetings on bass.
The industry and bass stocks have now had years of a preposterous set of rules and bans being enforced. They have proved seriously harmful to both fishermen and done the opposite of conserve bass.
It is vital fishermen take back control of the situation although the current situation has made many skeptical of management and science.
The only way to properly gauge stocks is with a wealth of data. The only way to do this is allow fishermen to land rather than discard the bass they are catching anyway under a controlled system.
Limited catching and tagging surveys, although welcome, have been proven to be ineffectual at impacting on moving science and management ahead. Trying to turn a tanker with a dinghy tiller is always ineffectual.
Fishing for Leave hope to see implemented an Effort control with Flexible Catch Compositions pilot to allow bass to be kept rather than discarded dead and unrecorded.
Vessels would be able to keep and record all bass caught in exchange for a loss of a value of fishing time equivalent to the value of bass caught above a percentage.
A loss of time paid for by the value of the bass whilst avoiding having to catch and kill more fish, including bass, to find what can be kept whilst incurring more time and expense.
Science would have accurate data & know that bass was unavoidable abundant rather than deliberately targeted due to there being a penalty of time for the ‘crime’ of catching bass.
Problem solved! Only implementing such a system will provide a controlled, cost effective system that will actually deliver a proper appraisal of bass stocks in order to deliver science and management that ends the current tradgedy of unrecorded, mass discarding.
Government could implement a pilot if such a system tomorrow if it had the gumption to do so and we hope folk will attend the meetings to push them to do so.