Iceland responds to MCS mackerel claims

17 May 2013
The MCS has rated Icelandic mackerel as 'least sustainable'

The MCS has rated Icelandic mackerel as 'least sustainable'

The Iceland Ministry of Industries and Innovation has responded to the Marine Conservation Society’s (MCS) rating of Icelandic pelagic caught mackerel as ‘least sustainable’, which has been based on seven justifications.

This comes after the MCS classified mackerel caught by Icelandic and Faroese trawlers as a red four on its Fish to Eat List, meaning people should avoid eating it.

The Icelandic Ministry says the mackerel was assessed by the MCS without consultation of the Icelandic government or Iceland Responsible Fisheries, making the ratings ‘inaccurate’.

In response to the claim that Iceland has never been in or applied for certification under the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) programme, the Ministry pointed out that Iceland works with numerous independent international fishing and marine organisations to ensure sustainable practices.

Iceland has also defended its catches after the MCS claimed that declared catches have been far in excess of scientific recommendations. The Ministry says the catch level is ‘not realistic or reasonable’, with the EU claiming 90% of the recommended 2013 catch level, leaving only 10% for Iceland.

The MCS also claimed that the fishery if operating outside of a recognised ICES science based management plan; there are reports of high levels of mixed Herring catches with mackerel as fishing takes place during feeding season; and high volumes of reportedly poorer quality fish are driving down prices.

The Icelandic Ministry says it hopes to meet with the MCS to discuss Iceland’s sustainable fishing practices, explore opportunities to conduct research together and identify policies to best manage the mackerel stock.

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