Ist February 2016

Hook and line sea bass fishermen in Weymouth and Portland will be able to continue fishing after a local MEP won a concession from the EU Council.

Sea and line fishermen from Dorset had complained that EU plans to conserve stocks should only apply to boats using nets as their traditional method of fishing was not adding to the problem of over-fishing. Their case was taken up by Dorset MEP Ashley Fox.

The fisheries minister in a letter to Mr Fox has confirmed 'fishing vessels using hooks and lines, and fixed gillnets may fish for sea bass and retain on board, relocate, tranship or land sea bass caught in that area not exceeding 1 300 kilograms per vessel per month.’ The original plan had been to stop the fishing for sea bass altogether of six months, but now this will only apply to the months of February and March for hook & line and fixed gillnet fishing.

Mr Fox said, “The fishermen’s argument was hard to fault and I am delighted that they can continue landing their catch. I would also like to thank the minister, George Eustace, for taking up their case with other EU governments.”

Mr Eustace added, “The UK government is always keen to listen when these complex matters are debated and I would like to thank Ashley for alerting me to the views of the hook and line fishermen.”

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