Bass, seabass (Caught at sea)

Dicentrarchus labrax

Method of production — Caught at sea
Capture method — All applicable methods
Capture area — North East Atlantic (FAO 27)
Stock area — Bay of Biscay North and Central
Stock detail

VIIIa,b


Picture of Bass, seabass (Caught at sea)

Sustainability rating five info

Sustainability overview

The state of the stock and fishery relative to reference points is unknown and information on abundance and catches is unavailable. Stock structure remains poorly known and further studies (including tagging, genetics, or other types of markers) are needed. Recreational fisheries are thought to be significant but these are not quantified. Avoid eating wild-caught seabass from this area. Take action and sign our pledge to give wild seabass a break https://mcs.eactivist.com/eaaction/action?ea.client.id=2001&ea.campaign.id=57127&ea.tracking.id=web

Biology

Bass or seabass belongs to a family of spiny-finned fish called Moronidae, which are closely related to groupers. Bass breed from March to mid-June, mostly in April, in British coastal and offshore waters, from January to March in the Bay of Biscay and from February to May in the English Channel and eastern Celtic Sea. It is a long-lived and slow growing species - up to 30 years of age - and can achieve a length of up to 1m with a weight of 12kg. Male bass mature at 31-35cm (aged 3-6 years) and females mature at 40-45cm (aged 5-8 years). Once mature, bass may migrate within UK coastal waters and occasionally further offshore. Increases in sea water temperature in recent decades has likely led to a more northerly distribution of seabass, as it is now found further north into the North Sea. Climate warming may also have lengthened the time adult seabass spend in the summer feeding areas. After spawning, seabass tend to return to the same coastal sites each year.

Stock information

Criterion score: 1 info

Stock Area

Bay of Biscay North and Central

Stock information

The state of the stock and fishery relative to reference points is unknown and information on abundance and exploitation is unavailable. Stock structure remains poorly known and further studies (including tagging, genetics, or other types of markers) are needed. The biomass index has fluctuated without overall trend, with some decrease observed since 2014. ICES advises that when the precautionary approach is applied, commercial catches should be no more than 2440 tonnes in 2018 (2634 tonnes in 2016 and 2017). If discard rates do not change from last year (2016), this implies commercial landings of no more than 2375 tonnes. Recreational fisheries are thought to be significant but these are not quantified and, therefore, the advice only applies to the commercial fishery. Total catch is unknown.

Management

Criterion score: 0.75 info

There is no management plan for sea bass in this area. There are no scientific surveys to provide fisheries-independent information on abundance. There is no total allowable catch (TAC) agreed for the stock in this area and total catches are unknown.

Capture Information

Criterion score: 0.5 info

The majority of commercial seabass landings are taken in net (37%) and line (32%) fisheries. Recreational catches are known to be susbstantial but are not quantified.

Alternatives

Based on method of production, fish type, and consumer rating: only fish rated 2 and below are included as an alternative in the list below. Click on a name to show the sustainable options available.

Basa, Tra, Catfish or Vietnamese River Cobbler
Bass, seabass (Farmed)
Bream, Gilthead (Farmed)
Cod, Atlantic Cod
Coley, Saithe
Haddock
Hake, Cape
Hake, European
Japanese amberjack, Yellowtail or Seriola
Pollack or Lythe
Pollock, Alaska, Walleye
Pouting or Bib
Sturgeon (Farmed)
Tilapia
Whiting

References

ICES. 2017. Advice. http://ices.dk/sites/pub/Publication%20Reports/Advice/2017/2017/bss.27.8ab.pdf (Accessed 8 November 2017)