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 four 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. However the biomass index shows an increasing trend since the mid-2000s and commercial landings have been relatively stable.

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

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. However the biomass index shows an increasing trend since the mid-2000s and commercial landings have been relatively stable over the time series. ICES advises that when the precautionary approach is applied, commercial catches should be no more than 2634 tonnes in each of the years 2016 and 2017.

Management

There is no management plan for sea bass in this area.

Capture Information

The majority of seabass landings are taken in targeted fisheries with additional landings of seabass taken as a bycatch. Inshore, small day boats operate using a variety of methods (e.g. gillnet, hook and line, trawl and seine) with relatively little activity in late winter/early spring. Offshore, pre-spawning and spawning aggregations of seabass are targeted by large pelagic trawlers, including pair trawlers, in the English Channel and Bay of Biscay during December to April. Recreational catches are thought to be significant but cannot be 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 Advice 2015, Book 7 http://www.ices.dk/sites/pub/Publication%20Reports/Advice/2015/2015/Bss-8ab.pdf