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SMPS - Bass

European Seabass - Dicentrarchus labrax

Version number: 2.0 Management plan review date: April 2013  


Date updated: February 2020

Fishery location: Across the district

Fishing Gear: Recreational Sea Angling, drift/gill nets and light trawls

Season: all year

Primary Management Tool: EU 1380/2013

Lead Regulator: EU, MMO

For information on catch for commercial and recreational fishing in 2022 go to



Being a higher value fish a lot of effort is placed upon Bass during the summer months as a sport fish provide a

Bass is a schooling predator of smaller fish species such as members of the herring family, sandeels and other small schooling fish. They are also in important predator of small crustaceans and squid.

Current stock levels in the Kent and Essex IFCA district are unknown as is CPUE. Recent estimates from the Sea Angling 2012 survey done nationally indicates that significant catches of bass are retained by sea anglers of up to 440 tonnes but that commercial fishery landings in 2012 in the UK totalled 897 tonnes.

Research is currently being done on a national basis to look at stocks. No research is currently underway in the Kent and Essex IFCA district.

Catches may be reported by anglers

Bass nursery areas and EU minimum landing size.



Officers undertake both shore-based and sea-based enforcement. Intelligence is collected by officers conducting regular patrols both at sea and ashore.



VMS is currently being widely considered for all fishing vessels and is something which could provide an addition to the current enforcement effort. VMS would enable targeted patrols when vessels were known to be active which would improve efficiency and be in line with maintaining a risk-based enforcement approach.

EA Fish ID Key

MAFF report on- The identification and separation of wild-caught and cultivated sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax)

Pawson, M., G. 1995. Biogeographical identification of English Channel fish and shellfish stocks. Fisheries Research Technical Report (number 99), MAFF Direct Fisheries Research Lowestoft, England. Available from: