Due to growing concerns about undersized sea bass caught from Cornwall’s waters, a new law is deliberated. The dwindling size of the sea bass could affect future stocks of these fishes. The considered law could implement the restriction of certain nets for catching sea basses.
A meeting was held on Friday by the Cornwall Inshore Fisheries and Conversation Authority (CIFCA) to discuss forming an emergency byelaw that implements the use of a minimum size net mesh in catching sea basses. However, some committee members suggested that it should not just be an emergency byelaw but rather a permanent byelaw.
The sea bass must have a minimum of 42cm according to regulations. However, this rule was introduced in 2015, but there were no implementations to use fishing nets with larger meshes. Therefore, they assume that some fishing vessels are still catching undersized sea bass using nets with small meshes.
Defra had already anticipated that this problem would occur, due to the implementation of catching sea bass with a minimum of 42cm without enforcing the use of nets with larger meshes. They advised that this emergency byelaw could be subject to challenge.
Some CIFCA officers recommended that the problem with the sea basses should be resolved by a comprehensive netting management plan, rather than implementing an emergency byelaw. However, some personnel in the meeting preferred an emergency byelaw, as they believe that certain actions should be made as soon as possible.
The meeting mentioned the issue of some fishermen and fishing vessels getting caught using nets with smaller meshes, such as in St. Ilves. Investigations were made regarding these matters.
If no immediate actions are made, more and more sea bass will be in jeopardy. The future sea bass stock could be in jeopardy, and probably five years from now, no more sea bass will be left swimming the waters of Cornwall.