Sole / Bass

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Permitted mesh size range 80mm- 99mm

These measures do not apply if at least 40% of catch is sole and no more than 5% cod 

Top sheet of 140mm minimum diamond mesh is required. This panel must be attached to the headline of the net or three rows of netting material attached to the headline and extend towards the posterior of the net for at least 15 meshes.

Plus an 80mm square mesh panel is required in compliance with 850/98 Art.7 below

Square mesh panel 850/98 Art.7

Any square mesh panel:

(a) shall be placed in the top half or top sheet of a net in front of any extension piece or at any point between the front of any extension piece and the posterior of the cod-end;

(b) shall not be obstructed in any way by either internal or external attachments;

(c ) shall be at least 3 meters in length except when incorporated into nets towed by vessels of less than 112 kilowatts, when it must be of at least 2 metres in length;

(d) shall be constructed of knotless netting or of netting constructed with non-slip knots, and shall be inserted in such a way that the meshes remain fully open at all times while fishing;

(e) shall be constructed so that the number of meshes in the anterior row of meshes of the panel is equal to or greater than the number of meshes in the posterior row of meshes in the panel and shall be positioned  not more than 5 diamond meshes from the salve edges at the rear end of the panel

Must have a minimum percentage of target species, of at least 70%.

Target species:- Sole, plaice, hake, megrim whiting, brill, pollack, dab, cuttle fish, sea bass, flounder, lemon sole, dogfish, witch, john dory, queen scallop, variegated scallop, red mullet grey mullet, grenadiers, hairtails, anglers, skates and rays, sea bream, turbot.

By-catch of cod limited to 20%


For commercial fisheries

Where commercial bass fishing is allowed (subject to restrictions)

From 1 January 2017 you may only use certain fishing methods to fish for or retain bass as a by-catch when operating in the areas below:

Sea area International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) division
North Sea IVb, IVc
Channel VIId, VIIe
Celtic Sea VIIf, VIIg* (inside the 12nm limit only)
Irish Sea VIIa* (inside the 12nm limit only)
South West Approaches VIIh

Subject to having a track record in the fishery, you are only permitted to catch and retain bass with the following gears:

  • fixed gillnets;
  • hooks and lines;
  • demersal trawls and seines.

You are not allowed to catch and retain bass with any other gears, including drift nets. Commercial fisheries from the shore are also prohibited.

Track Records and authorisation

Your vessel will have a track record if there is a record of bass landings during the period 1 July 2015 to 30 September 2016.

You will be issued an authorisation by your fisheries administration notifying you of the gear(s) you are allowed to use.

If you receive a letter stating you have no authorisation to fish for bass then you are not allowed to catch, retain, trans-ship or land bass. You must return any bass to the sea immediately.

 Fixed gillnets

Only vessels with a record of catching bass with fixed gillnets during the track record period are permitted to retain bass as a bycatch when fishing with fixed gillnets.

You may retain up to 250kg of bass per month as an unavoidable bycatch when targeting other species.

Hooks and lines

Only vessels with a record of catching bass with hooks and lines during the track record period are permitted to retain bass when fishing with hooks and lines.

You may retain up to 10 tonnes of bass during the period 1 January 2017 to 31 December 2017, but it is prohibited to catch and retain bass with hooks and lines in February and March.

Demersal trawls and seines

Only vessels that have recorded catches of bass during the track record period may retain bass when fishing with demersal trawls and seines.

You may retain bass up to 3% of the total weight of marine organisms retained on board per day as an unavoidable bycatch up to a maximum of 400kg per month.

Fishing gear

You may only use one authorised fishing gear per trip when retaining bass on board.

Summary of commercial catch limits

 Vessels with authorisations

Fixed Nets Demersal Trawls and Seines Hooks and Lines
Fishery Restrictions Unavoidable by-catch fishery only Unavoidable by-catch fishery onlyMaximum 3% by weight of all marine organisms per day. Closed February and March
Maximum catch limit 250kg per month 400kg per month 10 tonnes per year

 Vessels without authorisations

All other gears (including drift nets) and vessels without authorisations
All bass catches prohibited

Commercial shore fisheries

Commercial shore fisheries
All bass catches prohibited.

Bass and the landing obligation

The landing obligation applies to commercial fisheries.

Pelagic landing obligation

You must discard all bass caught when using pelagic gears as fishing for bass is prohibited.

Demersal landing obligation

The demersal landing obligation is being gradually phased in but does not currently apply to bass in 2017. It will apply to bass in all fisheries no later than 2019. This means that you must discard all bass unless you are fishing using fixed nets, demersal trawls and seines or hooks and lines in accordance with your authorisation.

If you are fishing using a gear specified in your authorisation you must discard fish below the Minimum Conservation Reference Size (MCRS) and any fish in excess of your permitted by-catch. Once you have reached your monthly by-catch or annual catch limit then you must not retain any bass.

For recreational fisheries

In ICES Areas IVb, IVc, VIIa, VIId, VIIe, VIIf, VIIg, VIIh

  • from 1st January to 30th June 2017 catch and release only permitted
  • from 1st July to 31st December 2017 one bass per fisherman per day

In ICES areas VIIj and VIIk

  • from 1st January to 31st December 2017 one bass per fisherman per day

Recreational fisheries include fishing from the shore.

If you have any queries please contact your local marine office.