SEA anglers finally have cause for celebration after the EU ended its outright ban on anglers taking the supreme sporting and eating species.

As from October 1, and until the end of the year, one bass a day can be removed per angler.

There are hopes that this could be even extended to a three-fish rule in 2019.

The  ban was introduced in January following flawed scientific advice on the impact of recreational bass fishing.

It was overturned after intensive campaigning by The Angling Trust and Save Our Sea Bass working with the European Anglers Alliance.

Some specialist bass anglers are likely to carry on returning every fish they catch.

But thousands of others will take advantage of the rule change and take a fish to eat… if lucky enough to catch one over the 42 cm (16.5 in.) size limit

Angling bass impact overestimated

David Mitchell, head of marine at the Angling Trust, said: “The British public have suffered a terrible injustice in 2018 due to a massive overestimate in the impact they were having on the stock.

“The Council of Ministers agreed at the time of the ban that the scientific evidence needed reviewing after which the ban on recreational landings might be lifted.

“In June, following a review of the science, new evidence was published which reduced the impact of recreational fishing by 87 per cent from 1,600 tonnes down to approximately 200 tonnes giving ample scope for the reintroduction of a bass bag limit.

“If fishing mortality is capped at the level advised then three fish for nine months would rebalance the fishing mortality of recreational fishing to approximately 25 per cent of the total which it was before EU management measures were introduced,” David concluded.

Bass decision was ‘flawed’

David Curtis from Save Our Sea Bass added: “Sea anglers are the biggest stakeholder in the bass fishery by far and the most sustainable – the decision to remove the bag limit was fundamentally flawed.

“We are pushing for an increase in the bag limit in 2019. Sea anglers have been unfairly hit by hugely disproportionate restrictions, whilst for many commercials it has been business as usual.”

A study conducted for the European Parliament confirmed the total economic impact of marine recreational fishing amounts to 10.5 billion Euros, supporting almost 100,000 jobs.

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