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The Commission’s proposal on bass – effectively a moratorium on catches – is an overreaction that is not justified by the science, the NFFO’s Chairman, Tony Delahunty, has said in a statement released by the NFFO.
“We are still absorbing the measures that were put in place for this year. It is important that we understand their effect before putting additional measures forward.”
He added that it is important that the fishing industry does not splinter and fragment over bass.
“There are signs of splits and fragmentation within the industry about what to do about bass”, he said, “especially on social media.”
“The science points to a number of poor year classes, and overall fishing pressure is too high. There is no escaping the reality that we need to take our foot off the accelerator to ensure that the downward trends are reversed. However, the focus is in danger of slipping from what sensibly should be done and what steps taken, to a destructive argument over who is to blame and who should bear the weight of additional conservation measures. The Commission’s overreaction in the form of a proposal to apply a moratorium on bass fishing, would carry devastating consequences right around the coast.”
“We need to stay united as an industry and not dilute our demand for effective but proportionate, and above all intelligent measures. We know what damage can be done both to the industry and effective conservation, when political knee jerks win the day: clumsy measures; unintended consequences; and perverse outcomes, such as discarding of a valuable resource.”
“A huge number of fishermen are dependent on bass for a significant part of their annual income. We are all in this together and we should fight together. The burden of rebuilding the stock should be fairly shared. Because there is no silver bullet for bass, rebuilding the stocks will require a range of tailored sectoral measures to put things back on track. It may take some time but the most important thing is to ensure that we are moving in the right direction.”