It's decision time this week on how many bass anglers across Europe will be able to keep in 2019. The European Council of Ministers and the European Commission will be discussing its strategy for the species at a meeting scheduled to take place on Monday and Tuesday (17th and 18th December). And the region's top representative body for recreational fishing have called on a three fish bag limit in northern waters.
EFTTA - led by Jan Kappel, its Public Affairs Officer – and the European Anglers Alliance (EAA) have published a position paper for sea bass in 2019 in which it appeals for a restoration of the rights of the public for a fair share of sea bass.
"The recreational sector has been loyal and supportive to the cuts made in its bass fishing opportunities in recent years due to concerns over the depleted stock," it says.
"The recreational sector has been consistently hit much harder by management measures than the commercial sector. What always was a hard sell has now become a reason for distrust of Europe's institutions for millions of anglers all over the region."
In calling for a three bass bag limit for Northern bass, instead of the proposed one fish, it points out that catches by anglers have remained relatively stable over the years, while commercial catches have increased dramatically.
It is also recommending a seven-month open season for bass fishing and a minimum size limit of 42cm for both northern and southern bass.
Jan Kappel said: "The steady decrease in anglers' share of the total catches is unacceptable. In recent years anglers and recreational fishing-dependent businesses have suffered a lot because of severe bass catch restrictions. This year anglers could take home only one fish during three low months of the season.
"It is very difficult to climb up from this dark hole as the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) has made commercial fishing king and recreational fishing a subordinated nuisance to the king. We are working hard on achieving a better status for angling in the CFP, not only with regard to bass, but all species of angling interest."