With a study by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) showing stock levels of UK wild Bass declining since 2010 and ongoing concerns about overfishing and reduction in reproduction, the MCS classified all wild Bass fisheries as RED RATED 5, fish to avoid, in Spring 2018. At M&J, we are committed to sustainability and so the team agreed we had to make the tough decision to remove this firm customer favourite from sale. We encouraged chefs to switch to a range of more sustainable alternatives and thank our customers for their support. At the same time we were disappointed to see that many of our competitors continued to sell wild Bass.
18 months later, we’re delighted to report that improvements in management means that stock levels have been recovering and spawning stock biomass (SSB) has improved to above the limit (Blim). With this in mind the MCS have now revised their rating to 3 for hand-line caught Bass and 4 for Bass landed by trawlers or gill nets. The majority of commercial catches are by hook and line, which is one of the most sustainable fishing methods available, hence the better rating for line-caught Bass.
As a result, we have now added wild British Sea Bass back into our range. On 7th October we had hand-line caught Bass landed by the Mistress in Lowestoft available. Speak to your local branch to find out about the latest landings and availability of wild Bass and other seasonal British fish.