Friday, 10 July 2015

Sea bass stocks on brink of collapsing, warn conservationists

Call for temporary fishing ban if EU agreement to manage critically low stocks can’t be reached

Friday 10 July 2015 09.56 BST

Urgent action is needed to prevent rapidly declining sea bass stocks from collapsing, conservationists have warned.

A temporary ban on all fishing of wild sea bass may be needed if agreement to manage stocks cannot be reached, the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) said after new scientific advice warned the situation for the species was getting worse.

Last year, the scientific experts at the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) called for total catches of both recreational and commercial fisheries to be cut by 80% to stem the declines.

The MCS said the population in the north east Atlantic had been rapidly declining since 2010 and was on track to plummet to levels from which it could struggle to recover.

A failure by European Union countries to agree a management plan for sea bass stocks led to emergency measures to ban pelagic trawling – fishing away from the bottom of the sea in the water column - for the spawning period between January and April this year.

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