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Volume 170: debated on Thursday 19 April 1990

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To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he proposes to proceed with plans to designate nursery areas for the protection of juvenile bass stocks; and if he will make a statement.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales and I have decided that, following extensive consultations with interested parties over the last two years, regulations should be introduced as soon as practical to establish 34 nursery areas in the coastal waters of England and Wales in which fishing for bass from any boat will be prohibited for all or part of the year. The nursery areas and the duration of the seasonal prohibition on bass fishing will be as follows:

AreaDuration of prohibition (dates inclusive)
Bradwell Power Station outfall (River Blackwater)1 May to 31 October
Isle of Grain Power Station outfall (River Medway)All year
Kingsnorth Power Station outfall (River Medway)All year
Chichester Harbour1 May to 31 October
Langstone Harbour1 May to 31 October
Portsmouth Harbour1 May to 31 October
Southampton Water1 May to 31 October
Fawley Power Station outfall (Stanswood Bay, Solent)1 May to 31 October
AreaDuration of prohibition (dates inclusive)
Poole Harbour1 May to 31 October
The FleetAll year
River Exe1 May to 31 October
River Teign1 May to 31 October
River Dart1 May to 31 December
Salcombe Harbour1 May to 31 December
River Avon (Devon)1 May to 31 December
River Yealm1 May to 31 December
Plymouth RiversAll year
River Fowey1 May to 31 December
Fal Estuary1 May to 31 December
Percuil River1 May to 31 December
Helford River1 May to 31 December
River Camel1 May to 30 November
River Torridge1 May to 31 October
River Taw1 May to 31 October
Aberthaw power Station outfallAll year
Burry Inlet1 May to 31 October
Taf, Twyi and Gwendraeth Estuary1 May to 31 October
Milford Haven1 May to 31 October
River Dyfi1 May to 31 October
River Mawddach1 May to 31 October
Dwyryd/Glaslyn Estuary1 May to 31 October
Conwy Estuary1 May to 31 October
Dee Estuary1 June to 30 September
Heysham Power Station outfall (Morecambe Bay)1 June to 30 September
We shall also be inviting the National Rivers Authority and sea fisheries committees to consider the introduction of additional restrictions in some areas or parts of areas where juvenile bass stocks are particularly vulnerable to other fishing activities. Full details of the extent of the 34 nursery areas and the additional restrictions proposed have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses. It is not proposed that any restrictions should be placed on fishing from the shore for which primary legislation would be necessary. However, any bass taken from the shore and landed will still need to comply with the minimum landing size of 36 cm.The introduction of nursery areas forms the final part of the package of measures that are being adopted for the long term conservation and management of the bass fishery in our coastal waters. The other measures, the introduction of mesh size controls for gill and similar nets and an increase in the minimum landing size for bass from 32 to 36 cm, which was subsequently adopted by the European Community, took effect from 1 January this year.