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Commercial bass fishing restrictions are relaxed

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TOUGH restrictions on commercial bass fishing imposed last year have been eased.

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Under regulations introduced in February 2017, only a small number of commercial operators were able to catch the species, and only by hook and line rather than nets.

The measures were introduced after EU data indicated that the species’ numbers were dwindling.

At around the same time, recreational fishermen were banned from landing the fish.

Now, following meetings with the Environment Department, it is understood that commercial fishermen will once again be allowed to fish for bass with nets and land around 100 kg a month, ten months of the year.

In a statement, the States said: ‘It has been agreed to introduce a limited amount of commercial fishing, for a small number of inshore boats for a short period.

‘This is to allow for data to be collected which will assist future stock management.’

The move comes around two months after recreational anglers were allowed to land one fish, per person, per day.

In order to build a better understanding of the Island’s local bass stocks, any bass landed commercially must now be recorded, with data being submitted to the Environment Department.

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Don Thompson, president of the Jersey Fishermen’s Association, said that he was content with the changes.

‘A few years ago, bass were in a perilous state and because of the cold water temperature, or for whatever reason, they were not spawning at all.

‘Everybody recognised that, none more so than the commercial fishermen but since then there has been a massive return of fish being caught all around the Island,’ he said.

Mr Thompson added that he approved of the condition placed upon fishermen which meant they would need to record all of their catches.

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‘I do think it is a good thing to have.

‘Recording data will give us a better understanding of the stocks around the Island,’ he said.

‘The authorities have previously relied on data from elsewhere when making decisions and it is not very strong data – very weak in fact.’

Ed Taylor

By Ed Taylor
Journalist

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