Regulations for recreational bass fishing 2024

The regulations for bass fishing in 2024 have been updated on 4.1.24 and can be seen here. Note: The closed season for both commercial and recreational fishing is aligned to 1 February – 31 March for both sectors with two fish per day bag limits continuing to apply to recreational fishers outside February/March.” and “The minimum size of European seabass is 42 cm. All specimens below this size must be released.”

Bass stocks (June 2023)

The most recent advice from ICES (International Council for the Exploration of the Sea) regarding bass stocks shows that the ‘recovery’ of bass stocks appears to be levelling off, leaving the stocks at best to be just above the point where additional corrective measures are necessary (B pa), and where they will probably end up under an MSY approach to fisheries management (B MSY). Interestingly, ICES advises that total removals  in 2024 (2,432 tonnes) should be slightly reduced (by 4.3%) because of uncertainty over recruitment. ICES Advice 2023.

Sea Angling in the UK report 2018 and 2019

The Government report on participation and catches of sea anglers resident in the UK in 2018 and 2019 can be seen here.

Sea angling in the UK (June 2020)

The long-awaited report entitled Participation, catches and economic impact of sea anglers resident in the UK in 2016 & 2017 has finally been published. I was one of the anglers who participated in this survey, keeping an online diary, recording activity, catches and spend on a regular basis.

On average 823,000 UK residents went sea angling. The total number of fish caught in 2017 was 54.5 million, with 80% of these being released; 7% of the fish caught were bass. The total spend per angler in 2017 was £1742. The total economic impact of sea angling was £1.94 billion, supporting around 16,300 jobs.

Changes to EU regs regarding minimum sizes (Oct 2019)

Following recent changes to EU regulations, there are no longer any European minimum sizes for sea fish applied to recreational fishing. However, the MMO has said it will apply the 42cm MCRS for bass to recreational fishing. If in doubt, consult your local Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority.

BASS recommends a minimum landing size of 48cm. This is the minimum bass breeding size of 42cm plus one year’s further growth. This should enable all bass taken to have bred once before they are harvested.

Europe’s bass on the edge of collapse? 

This article from British Sea provides a useful record of the actions taken since 2013 in an attempt to restore bass stocks.