Charles Walker calls for better management of sea bass stocks and access for recreational fishermen

Charles Walker MP speaking in the House of Commons, 7 December 2017

Charles Walker calls on the Government to ensure that leaving the Commons Fisheries Policy enables us to better manage our sea bass stocks ensuring access for both commercial and recreational fishermen. He also calls on the Chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee to look at proposals to make bass a recreational species only.

Mr Charles Walker (Broxbourne) (Con)

Does my hon. Friend accept that that will allow us to manage better our sea bass stocks for both commercial and recreational fishermen?

Mrs Murray

I thank my hon. Friend, who will be interested to know that I will come on to that point.

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Mr Charles Walker

It is simply madness to suggest that someone in a west end restaurant can sit down to eat wild bass caught by a commercial fisherman, but that one of my hon. Friend’s constituents, or one of my constituents on a day out at the beach, cannot keep a single fish that they catch off the beach or on a boat. That is simply not tenable.

Mrs Murray

I take a different view. I think that there is a place for commercial fishermen and recreational sea anglers to work together with us. A lot of people who go into a restaurant and think they are buying British bass are actually ordering farmed bass that has been imported from abroad. We need to make sure that we have a flexible management system that accommodates everybody.

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Mr Charles Walker

As Chairman of the Select Committee, will my hon. Friend look at the suggestion made by the right hon. Member for Exeter (Mr Bradshaw) about making bass a recreational species only? Will he and his Committee look into that?

Neil Parish

As Chairman of the Committee, I would be delighted to look at that. We look at all the evidence and look at exactly what can be done. There is a real place for recreational fishing, just as there is also very much a place for professional fishing. I would be very happy to look into that matter.

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