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Draft National Management Policy for Angling, Conservation and Protection of Bass Prepared by the Bass Policy Group March 2012 Version Draft V0.4
DOCUMENT CONTROL SHEET Name of Document: Draft National Management Policy for Angling, Conservation and Protection of Bass Bass Policy Review Group Dr. Ciaran Byrne Draft national policy on Bass 3 years IFI/2012/1-‐4093 TOC Text List of tables 1 8 0 0 List of Figures No. Appendices 2
Author (s): Authorised Officer: Description of Content: Approved by: Date of Approval: Assigned review period: Date of next review: Document Code
This documents comprises
Version Control Table Version No. V0.1 Status Draft Authors(s) Bass Policy Review Group Bass Policy Review Group Bass Policy Review Group Reviewed by IFI Snr Mgt Team IFI Board Approved by IFI Snr Mgt Team IFI Board Date of issue 27th March 2012 29th March 2012 18th April 2012
Mr. Denis Maher. PO DCENR
Bass Policy Review Group
IFI National Forum
Table of Contents Background Policy Development Process Bass Policy Group Objective Current Bass Management and Protection Regime Strategic Policy Areas Management Protection/Conservation Stock Assessment Education/Promotion/Communication Bibliography Appendix 1 (Terms of Reference for the Sea Bass Policy Group) Appendix 2 (Bass in Ireland)
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Bass Policy Review Group Draft Management Recommendations
Bass is an extremely important marine sport angling species in Ireland. The steep decline in bass stocks in Ireland in the mid-‐1970s, which was attributed by anglers and the Central Fisheries Board, to overexploitation in a then unregulated fishery, and temperature regulated fluctuating recruitment patterns, resulted in a severe decline of the renowned Irish bass angling resource. Ultimately the decline led to the cessation of the commercial fishery in 1990 to conserve stocks through the Bass (Conservation of Stocks) Order, 1990. Since then bass have been regarded solely as an angling species and are restrictively managed. Bass is the only marine species in Ireland to be managed for angling. In recent years bass angling tourism indices, including increases in the numbers of specialist service providers and infrastructure, suggest that some of the potential of the sector is now being realised. For the past three years significant attention has been focussed on the potential of re-‐opening the bass fishery to Irish commercial fishing vessels. This arose from the perceived improvement in bass stocks in Irish waters and commentary from the commercial fishing industry regarding the level of bass discarding by a limited number of Irish boats. Other factors were (a) limitations on the fleet due to EU quota restrictions on many other fish species and (b) the fact that UK, French and other vessels fishing in the same areas as Irish vessels were permitted to land bass. In November 2011 the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, who has responsibility for the Irish fishing fleet, announced that he would not allow commercial fishing for bass in the Celtic Sea and was “not proposing changes at this time to current arrangements in relation to bass fishing”. Recent scientific advice from ICES recommended no increase in exploitation levels across the wider fishery. Against this background and in the absence of a national policy on bass, Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI), the statutory body which is tasked with advising the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, on policy and national strategies relating to inland fisheries including sea angling, formed the Bass Policy Group to undertake the development of a draft national policy on Bass (ToR in Appendix 1). No policy document has been prepared specifically for bass previously.
Policy Development Process
An iterative consultative process, following IFI’s ‘Procedure on Policy Development’, involving, at different stages, the IFI management team, IFI Board, DCENR, National Inland Fisheries Forum, statutory consultees and ultimately the Minister will result in the development of this national policy. Therefore all sectors will be consulted in the process. It is intended that the policy will be reviewed in 3-‐5 years. Policy implementation proposals will be developed by IFI in consultation with the relevant authorities and agencies. The Bass Policy Group was Micheál Hennessy (IFI, Macroom), David Mc Inerney (IFI, Clonmel), Dr. Niall Ó Maoiléidigh (Marine Institute), Shane O’Reilly (IFI, Swords), John Quinlan (angling guide and Irish Bass Group) and Dr. William Roche (IFI, Swords and Chairman). Secretary to the Group was Sandra Doyle. The Group met on four occasions: 26/10/2011, 28/11/2011, 19/12/2011 & 16/2/2012. This draft document was unanimously agreed by the Group. Rational management of any resource requires development of effective coordinated policies to guide the management process and implement appropriate measures. Some of the broad strategic directions and measures outlined in this policy document will require resourcing. With significant budgetary constraints facing all levels of governance for the foreseeable future, prioritisation for 1
implementation of policy and actions will be required following assessment of overall sectoral budgetary and resource priorities. The development of a sustainable bass resource policy should be regarded as an opportunity to demonstrate best use of the national bass resource.
To develop a policy that will ensure the conservation and protection of bass and their aquatic habitat and facilitates long term sustainable economic and social benefit for Ireland
Current bass management and protection regime
Management of the bass fishery in Ireland is primarily delivered through fishery regulations. Apart from the closure of the commercial fishery legislation also prohibits the taking of bass using nets and Irish fishing boats must not have bass on board or engage in transshipment of bass. The recreational angling fishery has also been heavily regulated -‐ a bag limit of 2 bass per 24 hr day applies in addition to a minimum size limit of 40cm. The angling fishery is closed from 15th May to 15th June to protect spawning fish. It is also prohibited to sell or offer for sale any bass (other than bass which has been imported into the State). Protection of the bass resource is currently delivered by IFI authorised officers and Sea Fisheries Protection Authority officers under the Sea Fisheries and Maritime Jurisdiction Act 2006. Since 2011 IFI officers have been authorised to function as Sea Fisheries Protection Officers to enforce the statutory provisions in the control of fisheries for bass within Irish territorial seas and internal waters. Enforcement of bass legislation by IFI officers involves land, estuarine and sea patrols utilising a variety of boats, vehicles and surveillance equipment targeting priority locations and times. In recent years seizures of illegal nets and their catch have been made and small numbers of illegally caught bass have been confiscated by IFI staff from anglers. STRATEGIC POLICY AREAS Management Bass will be managed sustainably to maximise its potential contribution to the Irish economy • Bass is an important component of Ireland’s marine biodiversity and has significant potential in socio-‐economic terms. It is a valuable and important sport angling species which has been managed as an angling species since 1990 and should continue to be managed accordingly. Nationally bass must become identifiable as a species on a par with Ireland’s existing priority angling species. The lack of data for sustainable management justifies the precautionary approach and the requirement to continue with the management status quo for Irish bass stocks. A commercial fishery cannot be justified as the conservation status of bass in Ireland is largely unknown. The rapid decline of bass stocks in Ireland during the 1970s and its apparent failure to recover to pre-‐fishery levels despite the cessation of the commercial fishery since 1990 highlights the species vulnerability. ICES advice is consistent and advocates the precautionary approach to limit effort, particularly where data are limited. Policies should aim to manage towards developing a sustainable stock i.e. the stock should meet a required biological reference point (e.g. a conservation limit) and any surplus above this is available for the fishery.
• An assessment of the socio-‐economic value of bass to the Irish economy must be carried out to determine its current value, and to scale the levels of engagement and investment (public and private) required to fully develop its potential. This study will also provide a baseline to measure progress in socio-‐economic policy performance. A key policy aim is to restore levels of abundance to those observed in the 1960s. Management measures to increase tourism angling revenue should focus on increasing the abundance of all bass and specifically bass > 3kg (circa 15 years old). Enhanced management has the potential to consistently produce bass of this size giving Ireland significant competitive advantage in Europe. Protection of existing bass angling revenue must be a policy focus. This can be achieved through better protection, higher Minimum Landing Size MLS) and reduced daily bag limits. Operating on a precautionary basis, (which applies where stock data are limited), amendments to existing bass angling regulations are recommended to effect greater levels of conservation on stocks. o Increased Minimum Landing Size (MLS) from 40 to 50 cm total length (approx. 1 kg) to protect the youngest spawning cohorts from exploitation thus contributing to increases in population size. The increased size limit is an attractive marketing prospect which also supports sustainability and further promotes the already widely practised catch-‐and–release aspect of the fishery. o Reduced Daily Bag Limit from 2 to 1 fish in any 24 hour period to reduce exploitation. Thereafter catch and release would operate. Voluntary catch and release is widely practised in the bass fishery. Development of a best practise guidelines are required to minimise any mortality due to poor handling. o Review Bass Closed Season – currently 15 May – 15 June and identified as the bass spawning period in Ireland. Scientific literature indicates that the spawning period commences earlier. The revised policy recommendation is that mandatory catch and release would apply over the full extent of the potential spawning period rather than the current closed season window. The peak of spawning is over the April-‐May period and the Group recommend this revised window. o No-‐kill zones – identify where local stocks are vulnerable or limited and investigate where a no-‐kill policy could be operated. Funding – funding must be sourced to manage and protect bass. The public sector will deliver funding within the limitations of existing constrained budgets and resources and the private sector will invest in good business opportunities where sustainability is assured.
Protection/Conservation Bass and its habitat will be protected and conserved, under the existing and any revised legislative framework, in a manner which maximises sustainable economic, environmental and social benefits to all stakeholders • IFI and SFPA must jointly develop clear national operational guidelines, based on national policy, reflecting the responsibilities and legislative requirements of both bodies, to deliver effective, efficient and consistent protection of the bass resource. New or revised legislation should be introduced where required. 3
Investigate taking of prosecutions on a scaled/graded basis using “on-‐the-‐spot fines” or the existing District court route for lesser offences thus removing /limiting DPP involvement from the process. Major cases would be prosecuted under SFPA legislation through the DPP. IFI management should develop a bass specific protection strategy which allows for strategic assessment and focusses on high risk periods for illegal fishing based on reliable intelligence. Identification and investigation of transportation, storage and point of sale of illegally caught bass should be core elements of this strategy. Bass protection activity must be visible in the community to demonstrate delivery of function and protection of a shared bass resource. Adequate resources will be required to sustain a bass protection service which must include staff and equipment, legal resources and support for forensic investigations. At a high level stakeholders should be encouraged to engage fully with the protection service through existing routes and contacts, and any new angler networks, to advise on suspected illegal activity and assist in targeting available enforcement resources. On a broader scale the IFI 24-‐hr hotline should be widely advertised as a means of reporting illegal activity in relation to bass (and other marine fish) as well as freshwater fish. The extent and impact of all bass exploitation methods (poaching, angling, beach-‐lines, spear-‐gun fishing etc) require to be measured. Ireland is obliged to provide data on bass landings in the recreational angling bass fishery under the EU Data Collection Framework (DCF) to ensure adequate data on fish stocks and their fisheries are collected to support scientific monitoring and stock assessment. IFI was tasked with collecting angling landings data in 2011. The scale of the less well-‐known fisheries like beach-‐lines or spear-‐gun fishing is unknown but it is likely that large bass could be efficiently targeted by spear-‐gun fishers. Closure of priority bass nursery areas – juvenile bass aggregate in inshore areas for approximately 5 years prior to their spawning migration and may be vulnerable, as bycatch, to commercial fishing activity and angling. Closure of priority bass nursery areas to all fishing activity would protect undersized bass and contribute to conservation of the spawning stock. Traditional or new fisheries (e.g. inshore herring/mullet fisheries), which may generate large bass by-‐catch in priority habitat, must be mapped and any potential impact measured. Biosecurity – anglers must adhere to guidelines on control of invasive species (plants, animals etc) which may be imported from other jurisdictions or locations to limit any potentially negative impact on bass or its habitat.
Stock assessment Sustainable bass management will be underpinned by a regular bass stock assessment programme • Regular stock assessments must be undertaken to provide the necessary scientific data to manage the bass resource. These assessments should allow evaluation of pre-‐adult (juveniles) and adult stock status. In the medium term the ecology and biology of Irish bass should be investigated to provide an understanding of current stock dynamics and to 4
contribute to the development of predictive tools for stock assessment. Parallel outputs should include refining the issues of stock definition and stock size. Studies would include genetics and tagging elements to refine current understanding of what constitutes the Irish bass stock. The scale, scope and funding required to deliver this baseline stock assessment programme must be identified. The baseline will provide a basis to monitor change and also to develop long-‐term stock assessment procedures for management and reporting. Bass Angler Catch Census Scheme – anglers as primary stakeholders in the Irish bass fishery should be encouraged to report catches for scientific management. Scientists require catch returns to provide basic stock assessment information with which to evaluate the status of stocks and to assess the level of sustainability of the resource. Fishery managers require scientific advice to conserve, protect and manage fisheries rationally. Experience has shown that anglers’ responsibility and interest in management is increased if they are contributing to the overall management function. Initially reporting can be achieved by introducing a voluntary catch report, similar to the UK based ‘BASS’ scheme, which would encourage anglers to engage in angling fishery data collection and further increase the generally high level of awareness of an obligation to report and conserve. Identification and designation of priority bass nursery areas must be undertaken. These data are essential to ensure that this habitat can be protected from potentially harmful land-‐ based or inshore development works, poor water quality or similar threats.
Education/Promotion/Communication The economic, environmental and social benefits of sustainable bass stocks will be effectively communicated • Government and its agencies must gain a better understanding of the existing contribution (from the proposed socio-‐economic study) and potential of sustainable bass stocks to the domestic economy, and particularly to regional development. Best value to the economy will be achieved by recreational bass angling tourism operating on the existing precautionary basis. Recreational bass angling revenue has been shown to be worth multiples of the first-‐ hand sale value of commercially caught bass. Visiting angler tourism generated €105m revenue in 2009 and a conservative estimate of 28% of these visitors were sea anglers. Stakeholders and the wider public should be informed of the economic, health and social benefits of the existing bass recreational angling fishery and the potential which could be derived from an abundant bass stock supporting a well-‐managed fishery. The potential contribution of such activity to local heritage and a sense of public well-‐being should also be emphasised. Education and enforcement programs should focus on encouraging positive changes in public attitudes towards developing a stronger conservation ethos.
Encourage/support development of local bass information networks which would provide information on bass distribution, catches, etc. through liaison (two-‐way) with local protection officers. Stakeholders should be routinely involved in surveying to support stock assessments. Non-‐destructive sampling of adult bass is often best achieved by angling. Angler network groups should be set up to monitor and report catches and to support survey programmes. Involvement of stakeholders confers a level of stewardship for the 5
resource and will encourage responsibility in terms of contributing to data collection for management. The angling tourism sector, particularly IFI and Failte Ireland, should continue to work together, to identify needs/areas for growth and improve information and infrastructure for domestic and tourist anglers. A guide to the current understanding of the status and biology of bass in Ireland should be produced. The aim of this guide would be to present the current state of knowledge about bass in Irish waters in an accessible format.
Bibliography Anon., 2007. The Stock Book. Marine Institute, November 2007. Anon. 2011. Atlas of Demersal Discarding, Scientific Observations and Potential Solutions, Marine Institute, Bord Iascaigh Mhara, September 2011. ISBN 978-‐1-‐902895-‐50-‐5. 82 pp. Central Fisheries Board, 1985. Strategies Document. Central Fisheries Board, Dublin. Data Collection Framework (DCF)-‐ Commission Regulation (EC) No. 665/2008 of the 14 July 2008 DARDNI (2010) Consultation Paper -‐ Proposals for the introduction of Regulations for the Protection and Conservation of Sea Bass. 2nd June 2010 to 24th August 2010 Failte Ireland (2009) Tourism Facts Angling 2009. Fitzmaurice, P. 1978. Some observations on the life history of bass Dicentrarchus labrax (L.) Irish Specimen Fish Committee: Report for the year 1978: 36-‐52. Fritsch, M., Morizur, Y., Lambert, E., Bonhomme, F. and Guinand B. 2007. Assessment of sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax, L.) stock delimitation in the Bay of Biscay and the English Channel based on mark-‐recapture and genetic data Fisheries Research Volume 83, Issues 2-‐3, pp 123-‐132. ICES. 2002. Report of the Study Group on Bass (WGBASS 2002). ICES CM 2002/ACFM: 11. ICES. 2004a. Report of the Study Group on Bass (WGBASS 2003), Lowestoft, England, August 2003. ICES CM 2004/ACFM: 04. 73 pp. ICES 2011. Widely Distributed and Migratory Stocks -‐ European Sea bass in the Northeast Atlantic -‐ Advice September 2011. 9.4.23 IFI, 2011. Policy Development Guidelines. IFI, Dublin Kennedy, M. and Fitzmaurice, P. 1972. The biology of the bass, Dicentrarchus labrax, in Irish waters. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, 52: 557–597. Marine Institute, 2009. 2009 Scientific Advice on Sea Bass. Marine Institute. Marine Times, 2011. Coveney rejects sea bass commercial fishing proposal. Marine Times, November 2011. Pawson, M. G., Kelley, D. F., and Pickett, G. D. 1987. The distribution and migrations of bass Dicentrarchus labrax L. in waters around England and Wales as shown by tagging. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, 67: 183–217. Parker-‐Humphreys, M., 2004. Distribution and relative abundance of demersal ﬁshes from beam trawl surveys in the Irish Sea (ICES division VIIa) 1993-‐2001. SCIENCE SERIES TECHNICAL REPORT Number 120 LOWESTOFT.
Pawson, M. G., Pickett, G. D., Leballeur, J. Brown, M., and Fritsch, M. 2007. Migrations, fishery interactions, and management units of sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax) in Northwest Europe. ICES Journal of Marine Science, 64: 332–345. Pickett, G. D., Kelley, D. F., and Pawson, M. G. 2004. The patterns of recruitment of bass, Dicentrarchus labrax L. from nursery areas in England and Wales and implications for fisheries management. Fisheries Research, 68: 329–342. UK Bass Society (2004) A Review of the Recreational and Economic Status of Bass (Dicentrarchus labrax) in England and Wales and Proposals for Revised Management of the UK Bass Fishery -‐ Report prepared by the BASS Restoration Committee For Submission to Defra, the UK Government and the Devolved Administrations Walmsley S. and Armstrong. M. (2011) The UK commercial bass fishery in 2010. CEFAS report. Warnes, S. and Jones, B. W. 1995. Species distributions from English Celtic Sea groundfish surveys, 1984 to 1991. MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FOOD DIRECTORATE OF FISHERIES RESEARCH FISHERIES RESEARCH TECHNICAL REPORT NUMBER 98, LOWESTOFT.
Appendix1. Terms of Reference for the Sea Bass Policy Group Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) is a national authority established under the Inland Fisheries Act 2010. The authority replaces the Central Fisheries Board and seven Regional Fisheries Boards. Under Section 7.1 (b) & (c) of this act Inland Fisheries Ireland is tasked with advising the Minister on policy and national strategies relating to inland fisheries including sea angling. To facilitate this IFI has formed a group using internal and external experts to support the development of a draft policy on Sea Bass. The membership of the group has been approved by the CEO and Board of IFI. The Sea Bass group policy document will be considered by IFI’s Management and Board, IFI’s National Forum and the Department of Communications Energy and Natural Resources, prior to submission to the Minister for consideration. This is in line with the IFI Policy Development Procedure which defines the process to be used in development of national inland fisheries policies. The focus of the IFI Sea Bass Policy Group is to develop a policy that will ensure the conservation and protection of Sea Bass and their aquatic habitat, while also facilitating long term sustainable social and economic value for all stakeholders. The policy will follow the best precautionary principles while being cognisant of enhancing and conserving the environment for all species. In policy development the Sea Bass policy group shall have regard to the following:-‐
Best practice internationally; Obligations on Inland Fisheries Ireland under national, international and European legislative measures (e.g. Habitats Directive, Water Framework Directive); Government policies and the legislative, budgetary and financial circumstances of IFI and the wider inland fisheries sector; Corporate and other governance obligations relevant to the sector; How the private sector could best contribute to the promotion of effective conservation, management, development, and sustainable exploitation of the inland fisheries resource;
(c) (d) (e)
The Sea Bass policy group should consider the development of policies for the management and development of Sea Bass angling and the conservation and protection Sea Bass. The group is requested to confine its work to the development of policy. The implementation of policy will be considered by IFI at a later stage. The Sea Bass Policy Group will be chaired by Dr. William Roche, Senior Research Officer at Inland Fisheries Ireland. The group will develop policy through discussion and consensus; it is expected that a policy document will be delivered to Inland Fisheries Ireland within 3 months of the group’s first meeting. Date: 21 September 2011 9
Appendix 2. Bass in Ireland Ecology -‐ bass are a long-‐lived, primarily inshore feeding, shallow water species that can live for up to 25 years. Female bass achieve first sexual maturity between 6-‐8 years old at about 40 cm in length. The minimum landing size (MLS) is 40 cm which effectively allows bass to spawn at least once and contribute to recruitment. Irish bass spawn offshore and display high levels of fidelity to feeding sites returning regularly to the same areas each year after spawning. Bass spawning locations are unknown in Ireland although bass eggs have been recorded off the Kerry, Cork and Wexford coasts. Stock Definition -‐ evidence from tagging studies/seasonal movement and genetic studies suggest that Irish bass should be regarded as a discrete stock for management purposes. The limited correspondence between strong year-‐classes in Ireland and the UK previously emphasises this discreteness between stocks. Bass Stock Status/Stock Assessment -‐ bass are not managed by the EU under the Common Fisheries Policy and no formal (i.e. ICES) stock assessments have been carried out on bass in Ireland to-‐date. ICES also state that data are insufficient in the wider Northeast Atlantic Area, which includes Ireland, to evaluate the status of bass and that, on a precautionary basis, catches should not be allowed to increase in 2012. Ireland is obliged to provide data on landings in the recreational bass fishery under the EU Data Collection Framework (DCF) to ensure adequate data on fish stocks and their fisheries are collected to support scientific monitoring and stock assessment. None of the required data are currently available to assess the status of the Irish bass stock. Data for Ireland are limited to previous estuarine surveys of juvenile bass (from targeted studies and spurious by-‐catch studies) and limited angling catch data which have not demonstrated any substantive increase in bass stocks. Anecdotally, bass numbers have improved somewhat, which would reasonably have been anticipated given the closure of the commercial fishery since 1990. Angling industry related indices over the past decade including increases in the number of specialist bass angling guides and specialist angling accommodation and service providers, particularly in prime bass angling venues/centres, allied to increased coverage of the bass angling product in angling magazines indicate that the fledgling national bass angling industry is developing. There is greater awareness of the Irish bass angling product and its potential. These developments would indicate that bass stocks have improved since 1990 to such a level they can sustain this level of angling and the associated investment in angling tourism infrastructure. In 2011 Failte Ireland identified bass as a priority species for marketing. Commercial fishery -‐ Irish territorial waters extend for 12 nautical miles (nmi) from the coastal baseline. UK, French and Belgian vessels fish in the wider Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) extending for 200 nmi and also exercise their accession rights to the 6 – 12 nmi zone off the Irish coast. These boats can land bass in home countries. Recent data show that international landings of bass from shared fishing areas off the Irish coast are not significant. For example, evidence from UK bass landings show that only 2.3% of total landings of 719 tonnes taken by UK vessels in 2010 were taken in the Celtic or Irish Sea areas. The 2010 total landings, first sale value was £5.1 million, were the highest level of UK bass landings over the period for which data are available (1984-‐2010). Mean annual bass landings between 1984 and 2009 in the UK were 71 t. Commercial fishing for bass by Irish vessels is prohibited since 1990. Prior to this Irish vessels could take bass in all waters including inside the 6 nmi limit. Pre-‐1990 when no restrictions applied a total of 4 tonnes of bass was landed in Ireland over a seven year period. More recently, statistical data has shown that few bass were encountered by the Irish fleet. Discard monitoring by MI over the past 15 10
years has recorded insignificant numbers of bass taken by the Irish fleet; a total of 60 fish out of >2 million discards measured over this period were bass. These data show that offshore bass stocks are limited off the Irish coast. Over the past decade there has been a substantial increase in the consumption of bass. The demand for bass as a food product is adequately satisfied by imports of farmed bass. Recreational angling fishery -‐ the recreational angling fishery operates in all Irish inshore coastal waters but primarily south of a line from Dundalk to Galway. It is a year round fishery, apart from the closed season, which provides an important recreational outlet and generates substantial revenue in many different coastal locations. No catch or landings data are currently available but angling is regarded as a relatively inefficient capture technique. Over the past decade catch-‐and-‐ release has become a feature of the fishery as anglers operate on a more conservation-‐orientated basis. A limited survey recently undertaken by IFI estimated that approximately 70 -‐ 80% of bass are released. No empirical socio-‐economic data are available for the Irish fishery but based on a simplistic tourism revenue model a conservative figure of €18 million per annum is estimated from a preliminary survey. The value of this fishery in England and Wales was estimated to exceed £100 million per annum in 2004. The absence of a commercial fishery provides a competitive marketing advantage for the angling tourism sector in Ireland and the management approach adopted by the Irish Government in 1990 is widely regarded as an excellent example of sustainable fisheries management within the sector. Illegal fishery – the extent of the illegal fishery is difficult to determine but it is believed to occur at specific venues on the east, south and south-‐west coasts. Inshore gill nets are the favoured method and some seizures have been made in the past. It is suspected that 2 fish daily bag limit is exceeded by some anglers but detection can be difficult given the expanse of coastline involved. Since August 2011 IFI officers have been authorised to function as Sea Fisheries Protection Officers to enforce the statutory provisions in the control of fisheries for bass within Irish territorial seas and internal waters.
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