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Hi, I'm just about to undertake a short project on the UK Sea Bass fishery, and thought it would be really interesting to get a bit of everyone's opinion to include to put a swing on things, 'as from the viewpoint of someone fishing for Bass first-hand'.

Don't worry if you don't want to, but if you have any thoughts on any of these topics that you'd like to share I'd be very grateful.

-Number of Bass being caught over recent years.
-Size/Change in size of Bass being caught recently.
-The Impact of EU fishing regulations on the UK's Sea Bass Fishery
-Time(s) of year bass are caught
-Bass being caught around the more Northern coasts of the UK
-Condition of fish being caught
-Thoughts on Minimum Landing Size
-Thoughts on tagging exercises
-Thoughts on no fishing zones/nursery areas etc.

Thanks! Doesn't have to be factual, just what you have seen/ think would be a great help.

Maybe I'll catch more of the b**tards this year hahaha
Tom
 

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-Number of Bass being caught over recent years.

Increased in the far north over the past 10 years.

-Size/Change in size of Bass being caught recently.

No change.

-The Impact of EU fishing regulations on the UK's Sea Bass Fishery

None up here.

-Time(s) of year bass are caught

All year.

-Bass being caught around the more Northern coasts of the UK

Bass have been caught off the north coast beaches for at least the past 20 years.

-Condition of fish being caught

All in good nick.

-Thoughts on Minimum Landing Size

Doesn't affect me as I return them.

-Thoughts on tagging exercises
-Thoughts on no fishing zones/nursery areas etc.

Thanks! Doesn't have to be factual, just what you have seen/ think would be a great help.

Maybe I'll catch more of the b**tards this year hahaha
Tom[/QUOTE]
 

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-Number of Bass being caught over recent years.
Decreasing in the south, but increasing in the North

-Size/Change in size of Bass being caught recently.
More smaller fish

-The Impact of EU fishing regulations on the UK's Sea Bass Fishery
Bass should not be targeted commercially, but made a sportfish

-Time(s) of year bass are caught
All year

-Bass being caught around the more Northern coasts of the UK
increasing

-Condition of fish being caught
Good

-Thoughts on Minimum Landing Size
If bass are to be landed then it needs increasing to at least 45cm

-Thoughts on tagging exercises
Very useful, but it's too easy for commercial skippers to discard the tags

-Thoughts on no fishing zones/nursery areas etc.
Need more of them, quickly.
 

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In my area:

-Number of Bass being caught over recent years.

For anglers it's fallen but commercials it's increased over 300% p.a. in the last 4 years

-Size/Change in size of Bass being caught recently.

Much more smaller bass being caught and not many larger fish.

-Time(s) of year bass are caught

All year. Now is a good time.

-Condition of fish being caught

All I have seen have been in good condition except those poor things net caught with significant damage around the head and gills, very red and bleeding on the fish counter in some cases.

-Thoughts on Minimum Landing Size

Way to small. Let them spawn at least. 42cm minimum, 45cm ideal.

-Thoughts on tagging exercises

Waste of time. Why would those who catch large numbers of bass with tags want to return the tags if it would be detrimental to their income due to closed areas or seasons being introduced by what the tag prove for example. Have also heard of tags being posted to colleagues in other parts of the Uk to look like the bass have moved. (here come the fireworks...)

-Thoughts on no fishing zones/nursery areas etc.

Good idea on both. No fishing zones would have to be carefully thought out as to other species etc etc. Nursery Areas are a very good idea in known areas where smaller bass congregate such as estury mouths.
 

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Ada - personal opinion has to be just that and we should all allow for differences. Hopefully with more responses a pattern will emerge.

The following is based on personal observations from fishing the Sussex coast.

-Number of Bass being caught over recent years.
I've been catching more small Bass (up to 3lbs) in the last couple of years. .

-Size/Change in size of Bass being caught recently.
Fish in the 4-7lb bracket seem to have disappeared. The numbers over 7lb appear to be fewer but I have seen a few each season

-The Impact of EU fishing regulations on the UK's Sea Bass Fishery
The absence of EU regulations has resulted in huge catches of spawning fish to be taken in and around the waters of the Channel Islands. This may be why we are not seeing double figure fish on the wrecks any more.

-Time(s) of year bass are caught
My season has continued to be long running - April through to December. This pattern has been pretty consistent for the last 30 years in my personal experience. It does seem that more people are now tuning into the fact that Bass catches can peak in the last quarter of the year.

-Bass being caught around the more Northern coasts of the UK
No direct personal knowledge but I am aware that the BASS boys in North and West Wales struggled last year.

-Condition of fish being caught
Same pattern as ever. Thinner fish in the sping and early summer. Better conditioned fish in the Autumn and Winter months.

-Thoughts on Minimum Landing Size
It must be allowed to go up to a size that allows the fish to spawn at least once. My understanding is that at 42 cm very few of the fish will have had a chance to spawn whilst over 45 cm seems to be the size at which they spawn for the first time. It is common sense to me to allow the fish to spawn before knocking them on the head in order to generate the stock for the future.

-Thoughts on tagging exercises
Tagging helps us understand growth rates, distribution and mobility of the stock much better. It seems Bass are hardy and respond well to tagging and I would like to see this continue throughout European waters.

-Thoughts on no fishing zones/nursery areas etc.
I also believe that the nursery areas are a contributor to the larger number of small Bass that I mention above. To me this is a good thing that should be allowed to continue and it may have a knock on effect to other species. The spawning grounds seem to be well known, particularly around the western approaches. I would like to see all fishing activities (both rod and line and netting) suspended until after the spawning has taken place in these areas. All fish shoal up to spawn and Bass definitely migrate to spawn. Allowing them to be targetted at this time may explain why some years some areas of our coastline see very few Bass. Could the spawning group of North and West Wales been obliterated by trawlers during the winter of '05/'06?
 

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Ada, I totally respect your opinion.
However, and with all due respect, I would just like to say that my opinion is based purely on what I see and hear other anglers catching, along with my own experiences. And from that, the vast majority of south coast anglers I have met over the last decade have indicated that the bass fishing along the south coast has declined. As for the northeast, and as I grew up there, I can confidently say that there has been a noticeable increase in the numbers of bass here.
I'm sorry, but I just find that it's easy for people to throw figures around and say everything's okay, but the truth, in my view, lies in what the anglers are catching.

I do appreciate that the bass fishing from boats has been nothing short of amazing over recent years. And as my opinion is based more on shore angling, then I would suggest that the problem lies with netting (illegal or not) closer to the shore.

As for MLS. Well, it's simple, if bass aren't given the chance to reproduce then how can stock levels increase? Afterall, you can't expect to keep buying the same hooks forever if the manufacturer stops making them, can you?

Just my opinion fella

Daz
 

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Hi have to agree with HA, we are catching far more bass along the Hampshire/Dorset coastline that I can ever remember, the number of better bass been taken from the Purbeck coastline even now in the winter is quite staggering, these are not small fish but between 5lb 8lb. My only worry, with the bass population exploding in the Solent and Poole harbour will there be enough natural food, I am sure that other species will suffer.
 

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-Number of Bass being caught over recent years.
Increasing year on year

-Size/Change in size of Bass being caught recently.
More smaller fish

-The Impact of EU fishing regulations on the UK's Sea Bass Fishery
No idea

-Time(s) of year bass are caught
Year round

-Bass being caught around the more Northern coasts of the UK
No experience as I only fish North Wales

-Condition of fish being caught
Here there is a significant increase in thinner fish especially the larger mature ones. (there is a no Quota commercial exploitation of shore crab here, also a huge whelk fishery which has decimated the hermit crab population and something is reducing the number of sandeel in our local waters)

-Thoughts on Minimum Landing Size
Introduce a maximum landing size (this would protect the gene pool and allow the larger mature fish to breed, a minimum size promotes slower growing smaller fish)

-Thoughts on tagging exercises
It does provide scientific data but there is already a wealth of knowledge on the species, that knowledge needs to be used by the legslitive powers to protect future stocks. I would question the validity of future tagging as the present data is not being used IMHO

-Thoughts on no fishing zones/nursery areas etc
Great idea but they need enforcing , the number of fisheries officers needs to be increased as does the penalty for breaking the rules. I would say increase their number but the ones we have at the moment are inadequately policed.
 

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-Number of Bass being caught over recent years.

Way down from 30 years ago in terms of larger fish

-Size/Change in size of Bass being caught recently.

6-12" schoolies have become far more abundant since the Nursery Areas were introduced

-The Impact of EU fishing regulations on the UK's Sea Bass Fishery

Adverse!

-Time(s) of year bass are caught

Bass are now caught virtually all year round.

-Bass being caught around the more Northern coasts of the UK

Seems to have been an upward trend although I would question if that's due to more anglers targetting them these days? Needs considering.


-Condition of fish being caught

Good.

-Thoughts on Minimum Landing Size

Ideally it should allow for one spawning to have taken place before a fish is killed. A maximum size "best practice" recommendation is not a bad idea either as the bigger fish are the prime spawning stock and once over about 6lb the eating quality goes rapidly downhill in my experience.


-Thoughts on tagging exercises

Useful as they can provide more info on fish movements.

-Thoughts on no fishing zones/nursery areas etc.

Many locals blame the creation of the Nursery Areas on the abundance of small schoolies that get to the bait first. However they must all have parents somewhere so this argument's probably a strawman. I suspect that larger fish movements are following baitfish patterns and these can vary a great deal, so that good catches can occur one day at a venue with nothing on the following tide.

Cheers - John
 

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Three thoughts:

1. No netting in inshore waters - line caught only.

2. Better and stricter policing of both recreational and commercial anglers.

3. SERIOUS fines and confiscation of kit.
 
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