In April 2017, taking the species from the sea was banned after scientific data showed that bass numbers could fall below the lowest viable breeding limit.
Since then, amateur fishermen have only been allowed to go fishing for bass on a ‘catch and release’ basis. Restrictions were also placed on those catching bass on a commercial basis.
However, in September the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea [ICES] – who provided scientific data to the European Union – announced that it would now be appropriate to lift the ban and allow one fish per day to be kept.
Their advice was based on new research which showed that a lower number of fish died from recreational fishing than estimated.
The survival rate of ‘catch and release’ practices have also been higher and local monitoring has also showed that the numbers of bass are now in recovery.
Environment Minister John Young has urged anglers to follow a code of best practice when fishing for bass to ensure the sustainability of the species.
This includes only keeping fish which are between 45 cm and 65 cm and recording the number of bass caught through forms available from fishing shops and clubs.
Anyone handling fish that are due to be released is also asked to do so with care and return them to the water as quickly as possible.