Fish flounder…Stocks of sea bass, a perennial staple of upmarket restaurant menus and favourite quarry for sea anglers, have declined to the lowest point recorded for two decades, according to a new assessment by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES).
Scientists are recommending a 36% cut in catches throughout the English Channel, Irish Sea, Celtic Sea and southern North Sea. This would mean that bass landings next year in the UK, Channel Islands, Belgium, Netherlands, Denmark and France should total no more than 2,707 tonnes – a significant reduction from the 4,060 tonnes of the fish landed last year.
However, it is unclear how the proposed reductions can be achieved since bass is a stock that has until now been managed nationally and by EU-agreed technical measures (e.g. minimum landing size), rather than through international quota management.
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