PEMBROKESHIRE’S bass need protecting in the same way as bats, badgers and newts, says local MP Simon Hart. In a Westminster debate Mr Hart spoke about a letter he received from Pembroke bass fishing guide Matt Powell. “He wrote that our most iconic marine sport fish is under the sort of pressure that is unsustainable in the medium to long-term future. He said that angling pressure is taking its toll on our local bass stocks and he was concerned for the legacy we create for future generations.” Mr Hart called for special measures to be put in place in order to protect the species.
“On our watch and under our noses, we are seeing the steady decline and eradication of an iconic species,” he told MPs. “Nobody, it seems, can find a solution to the problem. Even the populations of salmon and sea trout, which are of significance in my part of the world, seem to be receiving more column inches these days than the future of bass.” Mr Hart called for an increase in the minimum landing size, a ban on netting in nursery areas and investment in the expansion of rod and line fishing around the UK coast.
“It is about investment in something that will bring good fortune not only to the bass population around the UK shores, but to the residents of coastal areas whose livelihoods depend on the practice,” he added. “If we don’t take this action then bass stocks will collapse on our watch and will take at least 20 years to recover, while the livelihoods of people such as Matt Powell, will probably never recover at all.”