To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food why the net sizes for the bass regulations are posed so as to exclude the standard channel mesh size.
The measures recently proposed for the management of the bass fishery are intended to protect juvenile bass and safeguard recruitment to spawning stocks. They include mesh size restrictions for gill and other specified nets, but for this purpose we do not consider it necessary to apply these restrictions to trawls, Danish seines or similar towed nets used in the English Channel for which Council regulation (EEC) No. 2968/87 prescribes a minimum mesh size of 75mm, increasing to 80mm from 1 January 1989.
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how he intends to ensure that the proposed bass regulations prevent the French from fishing spawning stock in mid-Channel; and what information he has on the amount taken from the spawning stock by French fishermen.
As I explained on 21 March in reply to an earlier question from my hon. Friend at column 14, I have no plans to prevent fishing for adult bass. I have no recent figures of French bass catches in the Channel, but I am advised that statistics published in France show landings of bass from the Channel area up to 1983 as between 600 and 800 tonnes a year. This includes bass from French stock caught both in French inshore waters and in mid-Channel.
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many French fishing boats were engaged in bass fishing in the English Channel last season.
This information is not held by my Department.