Henry Gilbey
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Please support the “Get the Nets Out!” campaign from SOS (Save our Sea Bass)

As ever I must give a lot of credit to the anglers behind these SOS (Save our Sea Bass) campaigns - they are working tirelessly to try and improve the whole bass stocks situation, they are doing it for free, and with how vital this work is and how easy they make it for us anglers to go on their website and lend our support, well to me to do so is a complete no-brainer and I would urge you to do so. Please, please get behind this new SOS campaign and stop burying your head in the sand and hoping that we somehow magically end up with more and bigger bass to catch…………

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From the SOS homepage: “A number of fixed netters have been illegally targeting sea bass – cynically abusing their “unavoidable by-catch only” allowance. To stop this, the EU Commission has proposed to restrict the amount of bass they can land to 1% of their total daily catch. A percentage of catch restriction is the final step needed to make the bass fishery sustainable and transform the quality of bass angling across Northern Europe. We now need to persuade our Fisheries Ministers, George Eustice, to push hard for this to be accepted at the December Fishing Opportunities meeting. Please click on the link here to send a message to your MP to crank up the pressure”.

How hard is it to follow this link and follow the very easy to understand instructions? Hell, SOS have even given you the text to copy and paste into your email, plus a simple search facility to find your local MP and send the email to them. Here’s the text from that link: “Sea Bass – Percentage of catch restriction for commercial fixed netters. The only people who can now legally target bass are sea anglers and commercial hook and liners – the most sustainable stakeholders, yielding the greatest social and economic benefits. However, the bass stock is still currently below a safe level and a number of commercial fixed netters have been illegally targeting bass and landing them, abusing their “unavoidable by-catch only” allowance. The EU Commission has responded by proposing to extend to fixed netters the law that currently applies to bottom trawlers: bass landings to be restricted to 1% of their daily catch. This is an excellent proposal, the last piece of the jigsaw needed to deliver a sustainable bass fishery for future generations. But it needs to be tweaked to perhaps 10% of daily catch, to avoid discarding of bass legitimately caught as bycatch by fixed nets in a mixed fishery. Unfortunately, Defra is intending to oppose the EU Commission’s proposal because Defra has never really accepted the EU law and policy that fixed netters should not be allowed to target bass. Challenging the EU Commission’s proposal is effectively saying “we support fixed netters illegally targeting bass” – not an attractive position for the Government to be taking. Defra points to fixed netting landings having reduced to 80 tonnes, but this simply does not address the matter of stopping the illegal activity that is taking place. I should be very grateful indeed if you would: discuss this matter with George Eustice prior to the 17 December Fishing Opportunities meeting in Brussels and seek to persuade him that the UK should not be trying to subvert a previously agreed policy decision and should be supporting measures to stop illegal bass fishing activity; and raise this issue at the annual Fisheries Debate. Thank you very much for your help.”

And a big thank you from me to you for supporting this campaign. Remember, all you need to do is go to this webpage here and follow the instructions. It’s so easy to do that I am entirely convinced even a few “computer challenged” mates of mine could successfully complete the email and send it off to their local MP! You all have a good weekend and may England please sign off their autumn campaign with a thoroughly convincing thumping of the Aussies. And a belated congratulations to Ireland on such an incredible win over the All Blacks last weekend. Ireland never looked liked losing, what an epic game of rugby, and the Six Nations is now looking ever more worrying………..