The Angling Trust has written to the British Hospitality Association calling on it to make sure its members aren’t supporting illegal fishing by selling or serving protected spawning sea bass in February and March.
A ban was introduced by the EU on February 1st this year to protect wild bass when they come together to spawn and are particularly vulnerable to fishing. The spawning stock of bass in northern European waters has declined by two-thirds since 2010.
Unfortunately, despite the ban on bass being landed, members of the public have reported fresh wild bass from northern European waters being sold by fishmongers and restaurants in February. As a result, the Angling Trust is raising awareness of the ban with the catering industry in the UK.
In a letter, the Angling Trust has called on the British Hospitality Association to inform its members that the buying or selling of fresh wild northern sea bass in February and March risks supporting illegal landings of a stock which is so threatened that it may not be able regenerate itself for an extended period.
Members of the public can help by informing any restaurants or retailers selling wild bass from northern European waters that the fish they are selling or serving in February and March has been landed illegally. In order to support the campaign the Angling Trust’s partner, Save Our Sea Bass, has set up a Facebook group, Sea Bass – Prohibited Species, for members of the public to report incidences of wild bass being sold during the closed period during February and March.
David Mitchell, Head of Marine at the Angling Trust, said: “Retailers and caterers may not be aware of the ban on landing any bass during February and March this year. We are trying to help raise awareness that any purchasing, selling or serving of wild bass during these months risks supporting illegal fishing as well as threatening the future of the stock. The catering industry can play an important role in cutting out demand for illegal landings of bass and helping to inform consumers about regulations put in place to prevent wild sea bass being removed from menus permanently.