Bass, seabass (Caught at sea)
Capture method — Pelagic trawl
Capture area — North East Atlantic (FAO 27)
Stock area — Bay of Biscay South, Atlantic Iberian Waters
Stock detail — 8c, 9a
The state of the stock and fishery relative to reference points is unknown and information on abundance and catches, commercial and recreational, is unavailable. Stock structure is poorly understood and further studies (including tagging, genetics, or other types of markers) are needed. Pelagic trawling in the Bay of Biscay is associated with concerning levels of dolphin bycatch and mortality, particularly of common dolphin.
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.
Criterion score: 0.5 info
Bay of Biscay South, Atlantic Iberian Waters
The state of the stock and fishery relative to reference points is unknown and information on abundance and exploitation is unavailable. Stock structure is poorly understood and further studies (including tagging, genetics, or other types of markers) are needed. Commercial and recreational catches are unknown. Discarding is assumed to be negligible. ICES advises that when the precautionary approach is applied, commercial catches in each of the years 2018 and 2019 should be no more than 478 tonnes (598 tonnes in each of the years 2016 and 2017). Commercial landings in 2016 were 947 t.
Criterion score: 0.75 info
There is no management plan for sea bass in this area.
Criterion score: 0.75 info
Most seabass are caught in targeted fisheries, although some are caught as bycatch in other fisheries. 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. Recreational catches are thought to be significant but cannot be quantified.
Pelagic trawling in the Bay of Biscay is associated with concerning levels of dolphin bycatch and mortality, particularly of common dolphin. Nets are trawled between two boats, targeting spawning aggregations of seabass that are also attractive to dolphins. Based on the number of strandings, it was estimated that in 2017 up to 4,000 common dolphins were killed in the Bay of Biscay by fishing: this level of mortality would likely contribute to a decline in the common dolphin population there. France is carrying out research and developing plans (including acoustic repellents, avoidance tactics, better data collection and quantified mortality reduction targets) to reduce dolphin mortality from bycatch. Some measures are already required under EU legislation, but these have not yet resulted in a reduction in bycatch.
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
Pollock, Alaska, Walleye
ReferencesICES Advice 2017. ICES Advice on fishing opportunities, catch, and effort Celtic Seas ecoregion. bss.27.6a7bj. Published 30 June 2017 Available at: http://ices.dk/sites/pub/Publication%20Reports/Advice/2017/2017/bss.27.8c9a.pdf (Accessed December 2018)
Peltier, H., Authier, M., Deaville, R., Dabin, W., Jepson, P. D., van Canneyt, O., Daniel, P., Ridoux, V. 2016. Small cetacean bycatch as estimated from stranding schemes: The common dolphin case in the northeast Atlantic. Environmental Science and Policy, 63: 7-18. doi: 10.1016/j.envsci.2016.05.004
Dars, C., Dabin, W., Demaret, F., Doremus, G., Meheust, E., Mendez-Fernandez, P., Peltier, H., Spitz, J., Van Canneyt, O. 2017. Les echouages de mammiferes marins sur le littoral francais en 2017. Reseau National Echouages (RNE), Rapport annuel. Available at http://www.observatoire-pelagis.cnrs.fr/IMG/pdf/rapportechouages2017.pdf [Accessed on 22.03.2019]