West Cornwall MP Derek Thomas says the EU decision to impose a 12-month ban on recreational anglers keeping any sea bass is another example of why the Common Fisheries Policy does not work for commercial and recreational anglers in West Cornwall.
At a meeting of the EU Council last week, Ministers banned members of the public keeping any sea bass they land during 2018 while commercial fishermen have seen their quotas for catching bass halved although they will be allowed to land up to five tonnes per vessel.
The ruling means that anglers, charter boats, bass fishing guides and others will be able to legally fish for and catch bass throughout the year but no member of the public fishing recreationally will be able to keep a single bass to eat.
Mr Thomas criticised the EU decision, saying it was based on faulty reasoning and would result in significant damage to the local economy.
“The 12-month ban on recreational sea anglers is another indication of why restrictions set in Brussels do not recognise or support local communities here in West Cornwall,” he said.
“The fact that recreational sea anglers will not be able to land any bass for the next 12 months will have a detrimental impact on our local economy and, in any case, it is unclear what harm these anglers present to bass stocks.
“It is important that we protect our bass stocks but the truth is that it was French trawlers that badly damaged the stocks just a few years ago.
“This is an example of how the Common Fisheries Policy has harmed the commercial and recreational fishing sector in West Cornwall.”
The measures for recreational fishing will be reviewed in March when updated scientific advice will take into account the impact of the restrictions on recreational fishing since 2015 and it is possible that the blanket ban on keeping any bass landed by anglers might be lifted in the second half of the year.