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Guidance on sea bass fishing in 2020.

Part of:
First published:
18 February 2019
Last updated:

The following rules will apply to bass fisheries in all UK waters in 2020. They will apply equally to catches of bass by all EU member states. The Agriculture and Fisheries Council agreed them in December 2019.

Commercial bass fisheries

All vessels commercially fishing for bass:

  • in ICES divisions:
    • IVb
    • IVc
    • VIId
    • VIIe
    • VIIf
    • VIIh, and
  • in waters within 12 nautical miles from baselines under UK sovereignty in ICES divisions:
    • VIIa
    • VIIg

must have an authorisation to retain bass.

Commercial bass fishing will be prohibited throughout February and March 2020.

The following catch limits apply to vessels authorised to catch and land bass:

  • demersal trawl by-catch limit of 5% per fishing trip
  • demersal trawl by-catch limit of 520kg over two months
  • seine net by-catch of 5% per fishing trip
  • seine net by-catch of 520kg over two months
  • hook and line catch limit of 5.7 tonnes per annum
  • fixed gillnetting catch limit of 1.4 tonnes per annum

Bass is not to be subject to the landings obligation. So you must discard immediately back into the sea:

  • any bass caught in excess of the quantity a vessel is authorised to land, and
  • any undersized bass (below 42cm)

You should contact Welsh Government before buying a new or replacement boat with an intention to fish for bass. This will enable us to  confirm if the vessel has a valid bass authorisation and if it can be transferred to a new owner.

If you are replacing a vessel that has a bass authorisation:

  • we will consider a transfer of authorisation as long as the replacement vessel is no larger in engine size and tonnage
  • you must get approval from Welsh Government that the bass authorisation can be transferred before making a commitment to buy the vessel.

If you sell a vessel that you intend to replace and wish to retain the bass authorisation:

  • you must tell the purchaser that the vessel will lose its authorisation to catch bass once the transfer is completed
  • you should get written evidence from the purchaser to confirm their understanding

Recreational bass fisheries

For recreational fisheries, including from the shore, in ICES divisions:

  • IVb
  • IVc
  • VIIa
  • VIIa to VIIk

a limit of two fish per person per day from 1 March to 30 November 2020 may be landed. Recreational fishers will be limited to catch and release only during

  • January 2020
  • February 2020
  • December 2020

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