To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment is made of the sea bass catch in relation to (a) size, (b) maturity and (c) reproductive state; and whether this information influences decisions by the Department on closure of fisheries.
DEFRA funds a programme that collects data on the size (length and weight) and age (from scales) of representative samples of sea bass caught annually in England and Wales. Research carried out by the Centre for Environment Fisheries and Aquaculture Science has established the age and size at which male and female bass become mature in UK waters, and reproductive state by area and season. This information is updated as necessary. It is used to provide scientific advice on the conservation status of bass stocks, and informs any decisions taken by this Department on the management of fisheries taking sea bass.