Zero Bass…ICES 2017 Advice

FullSizeRenderJust small changes to our Bass Fishing has in my opinion made a big difference to the number of Bass we are seeing across our coast. But it seems we are far from a sustainable fishery…ICES (International Commission for the Exploration for the Sea) have recommended zero retention of Bass for 2017 after two years of failing to meet their 80 and 90% reductions respectively. See here for the release.

Dispute the evidence if you must but this advice is only going to see more benefit long term, yes it is a shame that as anglers we could very likely see ourselves banned from keeping any Bass during 2017, which I don’t feel we are at all directly responsible for the decline of (if we want to be seen as important stakeholders though I feel we must take some blame and accept restriction)…but the biggest factor here for me is that we could see commercial fishing closed for the year. It has been an absolute farce this year that anglers cannot retain Bass while certain commercial fishing methods may continue nearly as they always have done. 

For me I’m being optimistic and thinking long term, I’m going to be out there though and say it I cannot overly sympathise with commercial Bass fishermen (as much as I do think commercial rod and line should be a part of the fishery once we reach a sustainable level). The way I see it those who are in Bass fishing for quick buck and greed will be filtered out, they will be gone (yes sad as they will need to find new jobs) but long term once we see a recovery in the stock we and less pressure from a greed driven commercial lobby we will only be left with those who care about Bass fishing and we can work towards a sustainable fishery.

Just look at what happened in Ireland, complete collapse of Bass stocks and now a sportfishing fishery that is the envy of Northern Europe. Only because the commercial fishermen that once relied on Bass moved on to other things.

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Releasing large Bass like this could one day become nothing but a smoke tinted memory…

In 6 years time I just hope that we could be looking at a sustainable fishery as we see the Spawning Biomass protected in order for the 0-1 year class fish reach maturity to have a huge number of breeding size Bass and even the smaller 1 to 2lb Bass we are seeing in decent numbers at the moment getting chance to sow their seed, and reach specimen size.

Here is BASS’ (Bass Angler’s Sportfishing Society) response to the 2017 recommendations.

I could be hopefully but this is “the bright side of the advice” that I’m looking at and there is every chance it could come through with a Ban.

Just please let us catch and release! Haha.

The Finger of Blame

So as some of you may be aware there is a Bass Ban going on at the moment where no anglers may retain fish…but commercial fishermen may fish for Bass by rod and line and FIXED nets… find out more here

So when last night I saw a boat I presume from Burry Port laying two drift nets across Llangennith (something they aren’t permitted to do until July) last night I was pretty gutted to say the least. I’ve kept to the Ban for Anglers returning all my Bass so far this year yet to see this last night was a kick in the balls.

I did ring one of my local fishery officers when I saw it but being out of hours there isn’t much they can do but pass the information on…shame as all they really need to do it catch these boats coming back into the harbour and board them and check the gear being used.

At least when the stock collapses and the scientists call for a complete closure of all Bass fishing we will know who to point the finger of blame at! 

Gower, Swansea…Home

 

mapofgowerFor many people, especially my age (19), getting away from home is something they can’t wait to do. New experiences, escape the boredom of their home town and discover new places. I however feel differently…

I love where I’m from and with Swansea having the simply stunning Gower Peninsular on its doorstep I would be very hard pushed to find anywhere in the UK I’d rather be. When it came to looking at Universities I subconsciously tried to find somewhere that was similar to home before I realised and decided Swansea University was the best place for me to go and I’m looking forward to starting there next September.

We are very lucky to have such a huge expanse of coastline that gives huge variety to both the Surfing and Fishing opportunities, it is truly beautiful. Rightfully so in 1956 Gower became the UK’s first “Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty” and with locations such as Worms Head, Llangennith and Three Cliffs Bay it’s no surprise.

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© Paul Gill

From Langland through to Llangennith the whole of Gower has phenomenal (nearly) year round surf and a well deserved reputation for producing some of Wales’, if not the UK and Europe’s finest surfers, as it has done for over 70 years!

Here is a slideshow of images that show Gower’s true beauty and Surfing/Fishing potential!

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Fishing round Gower can be tricky, it’s the kind of place that takes years and years to get to know and although surfing has given me a big advantage and knowledge I can relate to fishing the coastline, I still have plenty to learn. Without having such a huge expanse of coastline though and so much variation I don’t think it would be quite the same and that’s where my love for Fishing Gower comes from.

It’s far from just Bass fishing we are very lucky to have though, we get some phenomenal Tope fishing once the Mackerel shoals arrive come June, our winter Cod fishing was once famed across the UK and our sandy bays are home to some of the UK’s finest Golden Grey Mullet fishing, something I’ve got to try my hand at.

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If the Tope are in you can expect plenty of them!

As far as places go for Surfing and Fishing, there are plenty of exceptional areas along the Cornish and Devon coastline, on both north and south coasts but I am yet to find somewhere that is like home and has that very special appeal we are so lucky to have.

Although people will move away and leave Gower, they’ll always miss home, there’s very few places as stunning and special as Gower, the place in very lucky to call home!