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White Fish: Conservation

Volume 464: debated on Friday 19 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will make a statement on the conservation of sea bass stocks. (159331)

Scientific advice from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) suggests that the bass stock is fished sustainably.

Current European Union legislation protects sea bass by specifying a minimum landing size (MLS) of 36 centimetres, below which bass cannot be landed, and corresponding mesh sizes to be used for both fixed and trawl gear when bass is targeted. Some Sea Fisheries Committees (SFCs) have introduced a higher MLS of 37.5 centimetres which applies within the relevant district. The UK has also designated 37 specified areas in which bass fishing from a boat is prohibited.

I am currently considering the evidence for increasing the MLS for bass in England, and will make an announcement shortly.