This outcome is a result of successful negotiation by Marine Minister Michael Creed at the Fisheries Council in Brussels last week, where the initial proposal from Europe was for a complete ban on recreational angling for six months and a catch-and-release fishery for six months.
Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) says it now awaits updated Irish legislation from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine to allow for the enforcement of a catch-and-release fishery in all areas of the country from 1 January 2018.
The new rule, which applies to Ireland, states: “In recreational fisheries, including from shore, in ICES divisions 4b, 4c, 7a to 7k, only catch-and-release fishing for European seabass shall be allowed. It shall be prohibited to retain on board, relocate, tranship or land European seabass caught in that area.”
The new catch-photo-release (#cprsavesfish on social media) regulation sees a consistent approach being applied throughout the Irish coastline.
The strict bass management regime currently operating for Irish waters is based on a heavily controlled and restricted recreational fishery, says IFI, which adds that bass anglers have an extremely positive approach to bass conservation, catch and release, and the requirement for good handling in order to maintain the species and their recreational activity.
IFI also acknowledges the support of anglers for its ‘citizen science’ bass conservation programme.
Anglers, through their conservation-oriented ethos, have been the key stakeholders in supporting research into bass stock status over the past five years by providing catch and fish stock data, which has underpinned provision of scientific and management advice.
Economically, the bass recreational fishery is extremely valuable to rural coastal communities.
Earlier today, IFI issued a reminder to all Irish salmon and sea trout anglers to submit their 2017 log book.