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It always seems to get asked this time of year, so be good to see what the general Consensus is. This is what I have gathered about my local area, in dorset we have have two main shoals or heads of bass. The main head is generally located around the portland area, hotspots being the portland race.
The portland race is basically formed by the flow of the tide hitting a ledge which carrys on southwards from portland bill for about half a mile, a ledge which deflects the tide upwards towards the surface. The ledge basically takes the sea depth from 90ish ft to 30 ft. As the tide hits the shallow water it speeds up, just like a river.


Portland race


The two locations

The second head/shoal is at St Albans, St Albans is similar to that of portland due to the vertical ledge which reaches out nearly five miles, the st albans ledge is approx 15 meters high and lies in a depth of approx 35 meters. Again with portland the ledge this forces the flood/ebb tide up to the surface.



It is generally considered that when conditions are wrong for the feeding shoals, they disperse locally and eastwards, and the portland shoals westwards. It has also been mentioned that the two shoals never mix, although hard to prove I imagine. When the conditions are not favourable for the feeding shoal off portland they generally are found feeding close inshore around the various reefs and bays, or out on the hundreds of deep water wrecks. At the moment the sprats are off portland getting hunted by channel whiting, although a few good bass have also been taken locally.
 

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I think the Gower Bass have gone to Cornwall for their holidays :muttley: This thread deserves to go back in and get read :)
 

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I think ours dont go far, but then again even the marine non biologics we have over here cant suss out where the bass go for sure. I remember congerpants saying he has had a bass tagged over here turn up in the south of Biscay, down by Bairitz!! And other fish that were tagged the same day and near by turned up within a few hundred yards of where they were tagged?? Dont make sense does it.
 

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Several weeks ago whilst browsing the Forum I spotted a reference in a ‘post’ about returning fish and the possible benefits to the angler concerned. Unfortunately, now I’ve found the time to come back with some comments I’m unable to find the aforementioned ‘post’. But as I think the information I want to share is important and relevant this seems as good a place as any to add something.

I’m not going to comment about where bass go in the winter apart than to say that it seems fairly clear that temperature is one of the, if not the main, deciding factor.

Between late 2000 and the end of 2001 I was involved in the joint Cefas/BASS tagging which took place around most of Britain; both shore and boat anglers took part.

The most interesting thing which came out of the tagging, at least for me, was establishing, without doubt, that at least some bass return year on year to, for want of a better term, their summer haunts. There is a great deal of more detailed information in the links I’ve added below. But to shorten it there were a number of fish which were re-caught not only from the same place where they had been originally caught and tagged . . . but in at least three instances they were recaptured by the angler who had tagged them.

In my ‘Monthly Update’ letter (dated 3rd November 2001) I wrote:

“Currently 26 fish have been recaptured; of those three have been out of the fish we have tagged. All of the latter have been recaptured very close to where they were originally tagged. One of the most interesting ones, however, will not be counted:

John Thomas takes up the story: At a session on Wednesday 3rd October, using edible peeler at my usual low water mark, in rough conditions, I caught a tagged bass No 411317. Its total length was 74cm (26½ inches) from nose to fork of tail – approximately 8lb. I took 4 scale samples and returned it. At home I checked my records and found I had caught and tagged that bass on the 7th June this year, almost four months ago, and at the same place (I mean within 4 to 5 feet as the first time) and at the same state of the tide.

This is the second occurrence of a tagged fish being recaptured by its original ‘tagger’. The other was in Ireland by Robert Bankhead his was tagged in October 2000 and recaptured from the same reef in July 2001.”


You’ll note that I say that John’s fish won’t be counted . . . in fact none of the the re-captured fish could appear officially recorded in the original Cefas Tagging . . . because it was set up for re-captures. Officially we were supposed to either kill the fish and return the tag or, if we didn’t want to kill the fish, we were to snip the tag off. We, of course, didn’t want to do that.

But the really interesting fish is the next one . . . the initial capture and tagging took place on the 24th May 2001 at which time the fish was weighed at 6lb 4oz. On the 21st August 2002 the fish was recaptured by the original tagger - this time the bass was 7lbs (it was re-caught 40yds from the spot where it was originally caught). 17th September 2003 and ‘Billy’ (or should that be Betty?) turns up again, this time 9lbs 3oz, by now the captor was slightly concerned as to his credibility! However the coincidences hadn't finished quite yet as on 21st August 2004 I fished the mark with the original captor - but this time I caught Billy - 9lbs 4oz. Not only had the same fish been caught four times but it was caught three times from the same gully and once within 40yds of the gully.

‘Billy’ . . . you’ll have to excuse the poor quality photo. It was taken using a camera phone . . . and they weren’t as good then as they are now. You can however make out the tag on the belly just forward of the anal fin.





For more information: http://tinyurl.com/3ylcsvh

And here: http://icesjms.oxfordjournals.org/content/64/2/332.full

The following paper was prompted by the results of the re-captured bass. The late John Leballeur was very keen that this research should be done and all credit to him for his perseverance. I've managed to get the text across but there are some tables and diagrams (referred to in the text) which aren't shown.

Section 4. is probably of most interest to us as anglers. Though you'll note that the final capture of 'Billy' is not, for some reason, noted - though I can assure you there was a fourth capture. I know 'cos I was there!

Quote
Will philopatry in sea bass, Dicentrarchus labrax, facilitate the use of catch-restricted areas for management of recreational fisheries?

M.G. Pawson, M. Brown, J. Leballeur, G.D. Pickett
Quote:
1. Introduction

Recreational sea anglers in England have been pressing for a management regime in which more and bigger sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax) will be available to anglers, and this has recently been the subject of a Government consultation exercise (Defra: http://www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/consult/bassmls/index.htm). The overall strategy has been to reduce fishing mortality, thus allowing more fish to survive for longer. One emerging tactic is to restrict commercial fishing for bass in areas where recreational anglers have priority of access, and where survivorship of bass would be maximized through catch and release.
Mark-recapture studies around England and Wales have shown a tendency of adult bass to migrate to the south and west during the autumn prior to spawning, with a return in spring north and eastwards to geographically discrete feeding areas (Pawson et al., 1987, 2007a). The migration patterns inferred from these studies in the late 1970s and early 1980s remained largely unchanged in the early 2000s, and the results include a number of tagged bass that have been recaptured at or close to their respective tagging locations in successive years.

The purpose of this paper is to evaluate whether this precision of homing is high enough that protection of adult bass in particular areas would result in more large individuals being available for capture there by the recreational fishery. We also contrast the results from bass tagged in summer feeding areas with those from bass tagged in winter pre-spawning aggregations.

2. Materials and methods

This study used mark and recapture data for sea bass >40cm total length (used throughout) caught and tagged around the coasts of England and Wales between May and October (“summer”) in the late 1970s and early 1980s (1490 fish, see Pawson et al., 1987) and in 2000–2006 (1342 fish, Pawson et al., 2007a, plus some post publication recaptures). The two data sets have been re-analysed to compare the spatial and temporal distributions of the distance of recaptures from release positions.
We have also investigated whether there were seasonal differences in this behaviour, using the same analysis on data for 190 bass tagged at the Runnelstone in late October 1982 (Pawson et al., 1987) and newdata on 502 fish caught, tagged (using Hallmark tags, see Pawson et al., 2007a) and released in February and March 2006 and between December 2006 and February 2007 in the commercial line fishery on the Boue Blondell reef off the northwest coast of Guernsey.

In all cases, Cefas provided tags and associated tagging equipment and paid a standard reward for any returned tags (Pawson et al., 2007a). Posters encouraging reporting of tagged bass recaptured were displayed in ports along the coast of the UK, and also translated into French and distributed in the Channel Islands and along the Channel coast of France.

3. Results

3.1. Releases in summer feeding areas

There were only three examples of an adult bass tagged inshore in the summer in the late 1970s and early 1980s that was recaptured in the same or any subsequent summer outside the area in which it was tagged (defined as the local fishing sites where bass were caught for tagging, see Pawson et al., 1987). In the more recent study, 42 out of 73 bass recaptured between May and October in 2000–2006 were reported from the original release sites. In both studies, most sea bass >40cm tagged inshore and subsequently recaptured between May and October inclusive were reported from within 16km of their tagging position (Table 1), though the overall proportion decreased from 76% in the 1970s and 1980s to 55% in 2000–2006. This has been accompanied by an increase in the proportion of adult bass recaptured between November and April within the UK’s 3-mile zone, some 30% in 2000–2006 compared to 10% in the 1970s and 1980s, which Pawson et al. (2007a) suggest is related to a lengthening of the duration of residence of adult sea bass in summer feeding areas, according to the hypothesis that the movement to prespawning areas will be delayed (and probably take place over a shorter distance) during warmer winters (Pawson and Pickett, 1996).

Fig. 1 suggests that the incidence of bass being caught in the same feeding area (i.e. within 16kmof the original release position) has not diminished over the last 25 years in most areas where data are available for comparison (between the eastern English Channel and wes Wales), at some 60–80% of recaptures. More northern areas (southern North Sea and north-west Wales) in which fisheries have developed as the sea bass population has expanded (Pawson et al., 2007b) tend to show a lower “local” recapture rate.
The size of bass tagged does not appear to have influenced “homing” rates. Comparison of the proportions released at 40–50 cm, 50–60 cm, and over 60cm at individual sites showed that proportionately more bigger fish were tagged in the 1970s and early 1980s than in the early 2000s only in north Devon and at Portland, where the proportions recaptured locally were lower in 2000–2006, whereas proportionately more bigger bass were released in 2000/2001 only in the Solent and Thames, where local recapture rates were lower in 2000-2006.
The probability of an adult sea bass being recaptured more than 80km from its summer release site tends to be highest in the winter (Table 1), usually after they have moved several 100km to the south and west (Pawson et al., 1987; Pawson et al., 2007a). This is despite the ubiquity of both recreational and commercial fisheries for sea bass around much of the coast of England and Wales (Pawson et al., 2007a).
The precision of homing to summer feeding areas is illustrated by the repeat recaptures of bass by members of tagging teams at the original tagging sites in years subsequent to tagging. Out of 29 adult bass reported from within 33kmof the release site in the Cefni Estuary, Anglesey, between 1971 and 1984, 14 were recaptured at the tagging position. Since 2000, 17 fish were recaptured at the original tagging positions in Devon, Cornwall, Dorset, the Isle of Wight, Channel Islands and south Wales, six in the year of tagging or the winter immediately following, and 11 in subsequent years and within three calendar months of the release date. Among these fish were 4 – out of 40 tagged and released at a station permanently marked by a buoy on Christchurch Ledges on 27th and 28th July 2001 – that were all recaptured at the same position between 8th May and 4th June 2002.

3.2. Releases in winter pre-spawning aggregations

Two of the 190 bass tagged in late October 1982 at the Runnelstone, where a traditional line fishery has existed since the 1970s, were reported from within 16kmof the tagging position in the same winter, but the majority (9) were reported in summer between Newquay (75km north east of the Runnelstone) and the Duddon Estuary, Cumbria, on the west coast of England and Wales (Pawson et al., 1987).
To date, 24 tagged bass have been recaptured and reported from the 502 fish released at the Boue in winter 2006 and 2007. Eight of fourteen fish recaptured during the summer months (May–October) had moved northeast to the English coast of the eastern English Channel and the southern North Sea as far north as Lowestoft. Five other fish were recaptured along the French Coast around Normandy and in the Gulf de St Malo, and one fish in the Bristol Channel. Ten fish were recaptured between November and April: four in the release area, three offshore in the Western English Channel, two off the south coast of England, and one in the southern North Sea. A direct comparison, in terms of proportion of recaptures, between summer- and winter-tagged bass indicates that the latter had a much higher probability to be recaught more than 16km from the respective release position (Fig. 1).

4. Discussion

There is strong evidence, then, that contingents of adult bass, which may share common migration routes during spring and autumn and frequent the same spawning grounds, segregate to specific summer feeding areas. It is possible that these contingents retain their biological integrity at all times, but an extended larval drift phase (Jennings and Pawson, 1992) and the wide dispersion of pre-adults (Pickett et al., 2004) militates against any genetic separation (Fritsch et al., 2006). Thus, whilst there is little evidence of distinct self-sustaining “biological stocks” of sea bass in North west Europe, the observation that adult sea bass show a strong propensity to return again and again to particular feeding areas has implications for management of their fisheries.
In many cases, rather than kill tagged fish, the captors noted tag details and released the fish with the original tag attached. One bass in particular was first caught, tagged and released from a mark in South Wales on 24th May 2001, weighing 2.84 kg. This fish was subsequently recaptured at the same location on 21st August 2002, weighing 3.18 kg, and again on 17th September 2003, when it weighed 4.2 kg. Clearly, repeated recapture had not inhibited the growth of this fish nor its propensity to feed in that particular locality, suggesting that catch and release may have real conservation benefits for sea bass.
Because adult bass appear to be less susceptible to capture when they move outside their “home” summer feeding areas, protection of the populations in such areas should enhanced survivorship and lead to more, bigger bass being available to recreational anglers.


It can be assumed that the recaptures of fish tagged at all release sites were derived from the same fishing effort within the various fisheries around the coasts of England and Wales, and that the distribution of returns can be used to indicate relative exploitation levels (see Dunn and Pawson, 2002; or Pawson et al., 2007a,b, for a comprehensive discussion of this concept). Taking the two published UK tagged-bass data sets together, 55% of recaptures of bass >40cmreleased between May and mid-October were reported recaptured within 16km of their original release position, whilst a further 23% were caught at least 80 km away, chiefly in winter. Even allowing for higher reporting levels by members of the tagging teams, this suggests that mortality rates of adult bass in local populations could be reduced by around 50% if a number of carefully selected areas were designated as catch and release only for bass. This would build on the successful protection of juvenile bass in “nursery areas” established around the coasts of England and Wales in 1990, which have significantly reduced mortality on fish below 36cm (Pawson et al., 2005) and boosted recruitment of larger fish to the adult stock and fishery, often well away from the “home” range (Pickett et al., 2004).
The results of tagging bass at the Boue Blondell (Guernsey) winter fishery show that most fish disperse in summer along the nearby French Normandy coast or the south east English coast. No tagged fish were reported from the Channel Islands between May and October, and only 4 of 24 recaptures where reported from within 16km of the Boue between November and April. The pre-spawning aggregation of sea bass around the Boue is similar to that on the Runnelstone reef off south Cornwall, where adult bass were tagged in late autumn 1982. In both cases, bass appear more likely to be recaptured in quite distant summer feeding areas than at the tagging site in following winters, in contrast to fish tagged in summer feeding areas, which are far more likely to be recaptured nearby.
Whilst multi-year homing of adult fish to particular locations in freshwater is well known in migratory salmonids, repeat-spawning sea trout Salmo trutta (Sambrook, 1987;Walker, 1987) for example, the nature of conventional mark and recapture programmes militates against such evidence being collected for marine fish species. Usually, the fish has to be killed for the tag to be returned, or the details of tagging and recapture positions are insufficiently precise to demonstrate whether a fish has returned to a specific location. Data storage tags (Hunter et al., 2003a) may be used to construct time series geolocations of a fish’s track whilst at liberty, and this has provided evidence of philopatry (the tendency of an individual to return to, or stay in its home area, natal site or other adopted locality, Mayr, 1963) to spawning and feeding areas in a number of plaice Pleuronected platessa sub-populations in the North Sea (Hunter et al., 2003b, 2004). However, the technique’s spatial resolution (±35 km) is insufficient to demonstrate the accuracy of homing required to evaluate the benefits of designating areas for the purpose of segregating recreational and commercial fisheries for bass.
Robichaud and Rose (2001) used sonar transmitting tags to demonstrate repeat homing of cod Gadus morhua to within 10km of their release position in a spawning area in Placentia Bay, Newfoundland. These cod, like European sea bass, may move several 100 s of km to feeding areas. Whilst an insight to the spatial and temporal susceptibility of fish to fisheries throughout the movement range of particular contingents may only be feasible through the scale of recaptures attained by conventional tagging studies, recent work using DSTs on thornback rays Raja clavata in the Thames Estuary (Hunter et al., 2003a, 2005) has shown much more extensive movements than were indicated by mark-recapture. It may, therefore, take a combination of both approaches to determine whether fish that appear to be “homing” are using landmarks to navigate accurately, or if they are only susceptible to being caught in particular locations despite ranging widely.

References
Dunn, M.R., Pawson, M.G., 2002. The stock structure and migrations of plaice populations
on the west coast of England and Wales. J. Fish Biology 61, 360–393.
Fritsch, M., Morizur, Y., Lambert, E., Bonhomme, F., Guinand, B., 2006. Assessment
of bass (Dicentrarchus labrax L.) stock delimitation in the Bay of Biscay and
the English Channel based on mark-recapture and genetic data. Fish. Res. 83,
123–132.
Hunter, E., Aldridge, J.N., Metcalfe, J.D., Arnold, G.P., 2003a. Geolocation of
free-ranging fish on the European continental shelf as determined from environmental
variables. Mar. Biol. 42, 601–609.
Hunter, E., Metcalfe, J.D., Reynolds, J.D., 2003b. Migration route and spawning [o
fidelity by North Sea plaice]. Proc. Roy. Soc. Lond. B 270, 2097–2103.
Hunter, E., Metcalfe, J.D., Arnold, G.P., Reynolds, J.D., 2004. Impacts of migratory
behaviour on population structure of North Sea plaice. J. Anim. Ecol. 73, 377–385.
Hunter, E., Buckley, A.A., Stewart, C., Metcalfe, J.D., 2005. Migratory behaviour of the
thornback ray, Raja clavata, in the southern North Sea. J. Mar. Biol. Assoc. UK 85,
1095–1105.
Jennings, S., Pawson, M.G., 1992. The origin and recruitment of bass, Dicentrarchus
labrax, larvae to nursery areas. J. Mar. Biol. Assoc. UK 72, 199–212.
Mayr, E., 1963. Animal Species And Evolution. Belknap Press of Harvard University
Press, Cambridge, MA, pp797.
Pawson, M.G., Pickett, G.D., 1996. The annual pattern of condition and maturity in
bass (Dicentrarchus labrax L.) in waters around the UK. J. Mar. Biol. Assoc. U.K.
76, 107–126.
Pawson, M.G., Pickett, G.D., Smith, M.T., 2005. The role of technical measures in the
recovery of the UK sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax) fishery 1980-2002. Fish. Res.
76, 91–105.
Pawson, M.G., Kelley, D.F., Pickett, G.D., 1987. The distribution and migrations of bass
Dicentrarchus labrax L. inwaters around England andWales as shownby tagging.
J. Mar. Biol. Assoc. UK 67, 183–217.
Pawson, M.G., Pickett, G.D., Leballeur, J., Brown, M., Fritsch, M., 2007a. Migrations,
fishery interactions and management units of sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax) in
Northwest Europe. ICES J. Mar. Sci. 64, 332–345.
Pawson, M.G., Kupschus, S., Pickett, G.D., 2007b. The status of sea bass (Dicentrarchus
labrax) stocks around England and Wales, derived using a separable catch-atagemodel,
and implications for fisheries management. ICES J. Mar. Sci. 64, 346–356.
Pickett, G.D., Kelley, D.F., Pawson, M.G., 2004. The patterns of recruitment of sea bass
Dicentrarchus labrax L. fromnursery areas in England andWales and implications
for fisheries management. Fish. Res 68, 329–342.
Robichaud, D., Rose, G.A., 2001. Multiyear homing of Atlantic cod to a spawning
ground. Can, J. Fish. Aq. Sci. 58, 2325–2329.
Sambrook, H., 1987. Homing of sea trout: evidence derived from the Fowey stock.
In: Picken, M.J., Shearer, W.M. (Eds.), The Sea Trout in Scotland, Symp. Proc.
Dunstaffnage, June, pp. 13–14.
Walker, A.F., 1987. Homing of sea trout: evidence derived from the Fowey stock.
In: Picken, M.J., Shearer, W.M. (Eds.), The Sea Trout in Scotland, Symp. Proc.
Dunstaffnage, June, pp. 13–14.
 

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Great post John :p
 

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This post could be very interesting reading regarding the movement of Bass in UK waters but unfortunately I am reluctant to participate in sharing any information because of the possibility of it being used for commercial exploitation whether legal or illegal as I have seen it happen before today, the internet can be a very powerful tool for information and it be wise not to say much about the migratory paths of such a pressured species.

The angler can be his own worst enemy at times when putting up reports on the web.
 

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John thats a very interesting post and anyone with an interest in the future of the species, let alone fishing for them, should read it. It raises the question about the research that is currently being done on bass numbers and movements and whether the Forum members could participate in a tagging program given the majority of anglers here seem enlightened enough to practice catch and release. With 800 plus anglers all catching at least say, 20 bass a year (I Know many catch much more) that offers a conservative 16,000 fish tagged in a year. Given time to evaluate recaptures, it should provide valuable information and may well help the arguments for extending bass breeding/conservation areas. I appreciate it would need to be sanctioned by the regulatory body (still CEFAS?) but given the growing numbers in the Forum we ould provide some meaning ful insights into the future of bass.

Like all these things, its easy to come up with ideas (and this one may be flawed) but often there is a lack of volunteers to actually do the 'spadework' but I would be happy to get involved.
 

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This post could be very interesting reading regarding the movement of Bass in UK waters but unfortunately I am reluctant to participate in sharing any information because of the possibility of it being used for commercial exploitation whether legal or illegal as I have seen it happen before today, the internet can be a very powerful tool for information and it be wise not to say much about the migratory paths of such a pressured species.

The angler can be his own worst enemy at times when putting up reports on the web.
I certainly won't argue regarding your last point, Gary.

As for the sharing of information regarding bass movements. Much of this was known, or at least being studied, many years ago. A quick glance through the Bibliography in the back of 'Sea Bass - Biology exploitation and conservation (Pickett and Pawson, 1994) reveals that Donovan Kelley was doing research on 'Bass populations and movements on the west cost of the U.K.' back in 1979. The real pressure on adult stocks of bass came about with advances in technology, bigger and more powerful boats and the dreaded pair trawl nets. Cefas, Ifremer and their ilk are quite capable of studying stocks with or without our help . . . the problem is how the information is interpreted. But information is only as good as the actions taken . . . unfortunately political input often overides the correct, and often hard, decisions that need to be taken.

Recreational angling involvement can obviously be seen as a double edged sword. Our reasons in getting involved in the tagging were to establish that the offshore pair trawl fishery was impacting severely on inshore bass stocks. The commercial sector were claiming that there was no need to curtail they predations in the offshore fishery because the inshore and offshore stocks were separate stocks and their activities were not impacting on inshore bass. I leave it to you to make up your mind as to what the findings show.

For my part we demonstrated that an amateur organisation could play a full and active part (and hold its own) in the scientific arena. And having been involved it gave us the foot in the door for John Leballeur to progress the Philopatry paper.

Knowledge is power . . .

John

p.s. I recommend the Pawson/Pickett book if you can get hold of a copy.
 

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John thats a very interesting post and anyone with an interest in the future of the species, let alone fishing for them, should read it. It raises the question about the research that is currently being done on bass numbers and movements and whether the Forum members could participate in a tagging program given the majority of anglers here seem enlightened enough to practice catch and release. With 800 plus anglers all catching at least say, 20 bass a year (I Know many catch much more) that offers a conservative 16,000 fish tagged in a year. Given time to evaluate recaptures, it should provide valuable information and may well help the arguments for extending bass breeding/conservation areas. I appreciate it would need to be sanctioned by the regulatory body (still CEFAS?) but given the growing numbers in the Forum we ould provide some meaning ful insights into the future of bass.

Like all these things, its easy to come up with ideas (and this one may be flawed) but often there is a lack of volunteers to actually do the 'spadework' but I would be happy to get involved.
Indeed, Andrew, getting hold of that sort of data would be extremely valuable - for the reasons you state. However, there are number of fairly large obstacles to overcome. In the first place I think we have to be able to demonstrate a 'need' for the research . . . Cefas, I'm sure, will argue that there is no need for further research; at least not with regard to the movements of bass.

I think the two biggest problems are that in the current economic climate the likelihood of Cefas getting funding to pursue the research is zilch. As I understand it there was discussion about suspending their current '0' group sampling because of funding. The second is that there is a requirement that anyone who is going to take part in the tagging needs to be trained to 'tag'. Regarding the need for data I think BASS would certainly argue the case that certain areas are 'blank' with regard to data about bass - specifically NW Ireland, Isle of Man and (probably) all of Scotland. So we could present a case to Cefas that we would like to address these 'blanks', do the legwork wrt funding for the tags and ancilliary equipment, and also provide the manpower. Whether we would get the go-ahead is another matter.

Is it possible for BASS (and/or the Lure Forum) to set up a tagging programme on its own should it wish - I don't know. There has certainly been discussion on the BASS Forum about doing something along those lines. To address the concerns raised by Gary if we were the ones doing the research would we be able to keep the information within our organisations (i.e. utilising data as necessary but not having to release it generally)? Again I don't know. If so would any conclusions we drew be invalid because all the data wasn't available for independant review?

The one aspect that I don't think we'd have any problem with is getting volunteers to take part in the actual tagging . . . I think we would all be intrigued to find out about the journeys of 'our' bass. Bit like putting a message in a bottle.

Rgds

John
 

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I agree with your last point John. The topic of tagging has come up in discussions locally this week. Funding was seen as the main obstacle, not willingness by anglers.
 

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John,
Some one has been extremely busy and makes very interesting reading.....Having said that the samples are extremely small and the variables infinite. It just calls out for a major survey to be carried out but not until the protection is already in place and the results of the surveys cannot be used for commercial purposes. Otherwise we risk losing stocks for many years to come. Having said that from an anglers point of view, commercial needs and jobs will always take precedent over fish stocks until of course it is too late, as history tells us.
So why are we anglers not substantiating the real value of Bass to the economy??? Because we are still totally disorganised despite the best efforts of some. It really doesn't matter how much we moan and try to protect fish stocks no one will listen unless we can prove that economically the fish is worth "something approaching" what the commercial fishing values are. When we can do that we will start getting the ears of the politicians who can then jump on the conservation band wagon as a bonus to make themselves look good. Unfortunately in my humble opinion no amount of surveying or lobbying will make any difference until it is too late. It's time to take a different tack and use the information at our finger tips to show how much these fish are actually worth if kept alive. How much do we spend per year chasing these fish?? tackle, fuel, accommodation etc etc....that's one survey we can carry out with out the worry of our commercial friends taking advantage of it.....any volunteers to start the ball rolling??

Apologies for getting on my soap box John but what ever opinion we have on the subject at least this thread has got us talking about it again..... Nice one.;-)
 

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John,
Some one has been extremely busy and makes very interesting reading.....Having said that the samples are extremely small and the variables infinite. It just calls out for a major survey to be carried out but not until the protection is already in place and the results of the surveys cannot be used for commercial purposes. Otherwise we risk losing stocks for many years to come. Having said that from an anglers point of view, commercial needs and jobs will always take precedent over fish stocks until of course it is too late, as history tells us.
So why are we anglers not substantiating the real value of Bass to the economy??? Because we are still totally disorganised despite the best efforts of some. It really doesn't matter how much we moan and try to protect fish stocks no one will listen unless we can prove that economically the fish is worth "something approaching" what the commercial fishing values are. When we can do that we will start getting the ears of the politicians who can then jump on the conservation band wagon as a bonus to make themselves look good. Unfortunately in my humble opinion no amount of surveying or lobbying will make any difference until it is too late. It's time to take a different tack and use the information at our finger tips to show how much these fish are actually worth if kept alive. How much do we spend per year chasing these fish?? tackle, fuel, accommodation etc etc....that's one survey we can carry out with out the worry of our commercial friends taking advantage of it.....any volunteers to start the ball rolling??

Apologies for getting on my soap box John but what ever opinion we have on the subject at least this thread has got us talking about it again..... Nice one.;-)
Hello Trev,

It's very difficult to avoid 'soapboxes' when you feel strongly about a subject. . . . . :D

I can't argue about the size of the samples or what variables are involved I've no scientific background. But I agree that the larger the number of samples the 'better'.

Commercial needs and jobs will only continue to take precedent as long as RSA's continue to be so incredibly apathetic. Which answers your question in the first line of your second paragraph. Where to start with the rest of that paragraph . . .

Firstly, you speak of surveys . . . there have been any number of surveys, and quite a few have provide ideal ammunition for RSA's to present to the 'powers that be' in support of arguments for taking more notice of what RSA's want/need. One document brought many of the supporting facts and figures together and was presented to Government: BASS Management Plan

As I say the problem is not the lack of surveys and supportive evidence (there are even examples of successful fisheries management for the benefit of all not just RSA . . just put in a 'search' for Striped bass). The biggest problem is, and you touch on it yourself, APATHY. I did specify earlier, angler apathy, but that isn't really fair as it is not specific. Let me pose a question . . . who apart from anglers (and commercial fishing interests) has the most to gain from an increase in fish stocks. Well, how about tackle companies (and the angling publications sector) . . . a deputation from RSA met with a number of heads of tackle companies. I spoke with one of the deputation a few weeks later . . . he was scathing in his criticism. These business men could not (would not) see the connection between increased availability of fish (of interest to anglers) and the knock on benefit to their businesses. We could garner no support. It was a very despondent time.

Which brings me to the political element. Politicians will take the line of least resistance every time. In this day and age of career politicians actions are carefully examined to decide where the effort and support is best utilised to bring the utmost benefit to the politician (yes, I am a cynical *******)! Politicians are looking out for what will affect them and their profile immediately, if they take a course of action what are the ramifications for them in the short term v. long term. Fisheries policies are unfortunately, generally, long-term. So in a fisheries context there is little benefit for a politician to make the 'right' decision, and attract a lot of high profile flak for his decision, regarding a specific fish stock, if the benefits won't be apparent for a number of years; because the likelihood is he will have moved onto pastures new. So what affects the decision making, well, obviously vociferous lobbying and the number of votes at risk.

Which brings me eventually (apologies) to the bottom line. On the plus side, for RSA, we certainly have the numbers - X million anglers vs. something like 26,000 registered commercial fishermen, and we do have some very supportive facts and figures. On the negative side, as you rightly point out, we are totally disorganised, and, to a certain extent disinterested. And I have to say I can see why up to a point . . . we go angling to get away from life, from the office, from 'indoors' . . . not to become involved in technical arguments, writing campaigns etcetera. Worse though is that we can't even find it in ourselves to fund a national body (who could fight our 'cause . . . I know it has it's faults . . . but how many anglers are members of the Angling Trust?) which would tackle these important issues for us.

Contrast that with the Commercial Fishermen who, despite their lack of numbers, fund proper political lobbyists, PR people etc. and these people put the pressure on the politicians.

We found out the hard way that you can have all the fully supportive facts and figures you like, you can have umpteen times the 'numbers' of participants than the 'opposing' side, you can have the demonstrative madness of 'harvesting' a species of fish before it has reached a size which allows it to spawn. And it will matter not a jot . . . if you cannot provide the 'muscle' and professional representation. Bass will probably never become extinct . . . but actively pursuing them will not be an option - they will be accidental captures - whilst fishing for gobies! And because of the amount of time that will elapse until this comes to pass the politician who 'passed' on taking the right decision will have moved on and not be held responsible for his actions.

Sorry, if this makes for depressing reading but I and others were there and saw it happen . . .

Please take the time to peruse the BMP document. I believe you'll see it wasn't for lack of information, or, I promise you, effort.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have the pressing appointment of packing far too many lures into a far too small space (and I need to get my drysuit in without it being punctured by the lures :shock:). Ive spent far too much time writing (and re-writing) this, and I'm sure bored or annoyed a number of people, but if I'd not responded now then three weeks would have passed before I would have been able to reply and the 'thread' would have been well cold by then.

Regards

John
 

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Well said John I agree whole heartedly with it all......and yes I am a vociferous supporter of the Angling Trust as some of the members on here will confirm. If only half the number of people who went sea angling last year joined the angling trust we would have an annual budget in excess of 30 million pounds. With that goes the power to effect all sorts of things from political will, conservation and on to ownership of coastline etc etc. But we are a pathetic selfish bunch of ******** and so this will never happen.
I openly encouraged the relevant government departments and pro fishiing lobbies to make it compulsory to join the Angling Trust. Much as the government did twenty odd years ago with the wildfowling fraternity and BASC...simply for the insurance, because that is the only way anglers will ever come together in a group large enough to have any effect on our surroundings. We are a pathetic lazy bunch and unfortunately our target species will suffer because of that....not because of the commercial fisherman catching them but because we really couldn't be arsed (apart from moaning...much like this:oops::oops:) to actually do anything.......... Shame for the fish and shame on us...unless a miracle happens........:shock::shock:
 
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