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NFFO Calls for Bass Appeals Process
The Federation has written urgently to Fisheries Minister George Eustice calling for an appeals process for vessels excluded from the bass fishery.
The letter reads:
“You are already aware of our view that whilst it makes sense to implement sensible management measures to safeguard the bass stocks, the current moral panic over bass is largely driven by an artificial EU MSY timetable, a dip in recruitment, and an over-exercised recreational angling sector.
We appreciate that at the December Council, you and your officials helped to block the Commission’s proposal for a complete ban on the gill net fishery for bass. However, we are now surprised that the measures to limit participation in the gill net fishery for bass do not contain provisions to deal with pipeline, or borderline cases, or in fact, the frequent sale and repurchase of vessels. There seems to be no appreciation of the highly dynamic ownership patterns in the inshore fleet. This measure also cuts across the bass fishery as an important entry point for new entrants to the fishing industry.
Generally, in the past, it has been considered that an appeals process was a precondition for a fair and proportionate approach to deal with cases where vessel operators may have entered into binding financial commitments, or have genuine reasons why they were not active during the reference period. The hardship arising from an unduly rigid approach creates very rough justice.
Against this background, we would be grateful if you would reconsider the need for an appeals process.”