Scientific evidence presented by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), states that the north east Atlantic Sea bass Dicentrarchus labrax populations have been declining dramatically since 2012 and is at risk of collapse.

This species is late maturing, slow growing and a highly valuable species to fishermen, resulting in a high fishing mortality and a poor spawning stock producing low recruitment. It is estimated that its fishing mortality is four times above the Maximum Sustainable Yield.

To help reduce fishing mortality and increase recruitment, management measures have been implemented by the EU Commission.  25% of Sea bass fishing is attributed to recreational catches and the following measure applies to all recreational fishermen:

  • From 1st January to 30th June 2017 – catch and release scheme only
  • From 1st July to 31st December 2017 – bag 1 seabass per fisherman per day
  • An increase in the minimum size of northern sea bass from 36 to 42cm