Bass is often called ‘King of the Sea’ – the fish is prized for its high oil content and fantastic taste. Handlining is the best way to catch this fish. It is likely to be freshest and least damaged (for example, by nets) and handlining is also the most sustainable way of catching it.
Half of wild bass is caught in nets but the most highly prized of all is caught using the historic method handed down from father to son. Handliners use three lines, two from poles on either side of the boat, a third trailing behind. All wild caught bass is subject to a minimum landing size of 40cm. The government plans to increase this to 45 in 2010.
The boats handlining for bass are usually between 15 and 20ft in length and work from the many small coves and harbours dotted around the Coast of Cornwall and Devon in the UK.
Your fish, individually tagged
The South West Handliners Fishermen’s Association website says;
With the bad press Sea Bass has been receiving the SWHFA decided to highlight the ethical, and sustainable alternative to farmed or pair-trawl caught bass by introducing individual tags for each fish caught using hook and line.
The SWHFA numbered tags are inserted in the gills or mouth by the fishermen and should remain in the fish until taken out by the end-user.
As well as environmental reasons for choosing line-caught bass, the wild caught bass have more muscle and are less flabby than farmed bass as they have a 100% natural diet.
To reduce costs we are keen to re-use the tags. If you would like to help us re-cycle the tags then please send them to:
South West Handline Fishermen’s Association
c/o Cornwall Fisheries Resource Centre
78b The Strand / Newlyn / Cornwall / TR18 5HW