Mackerel icefish fishery recertified

HIMI mackerel icefish HIMI mackerel icefish

Austral Fisheries’ and Australian Longline’s Heard Island and McDonald Island (HIMI) mackerel icefish (icefish) fishery has been recertified as sustainable.

First certified in 2006, this fishery was the first finfish species in Australia to be certified as sustainable by the MSC, and five years on it has demonstrated - via a rigorous, independent assessment process conducted by Scientific Certification System (SCS) - that the stocks targeted remain healthy, the fishing practices used continue to have minimal impact on the marine eco-system and overall the fishery is sustainably managed.

The Heard and McDonald Islands are external territories of Australia and are located in the Southern Indian Ocean about 4,000km south-west of Perth in Western Australia.

The Islands lie inside the Convention Area of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), but outside the Antarctic Treaty Area. CCAMLR management rules and practices closely follow precautionary and ecosystem-based principles. Catch levels and other conservation measures are agreed by CCAMLR, based on the advice of their scientific committee, and accredited observers monitor compliance with these measures.

The fishery operates in shelf areas within the Australian Fishing Zone (AFZ) surrounding HIMI out to 200 nautical miles, and is managed by the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA).

Icefish are native to Antarctic waters and rely on the production of a unique chemical that works like anti-freeze in their bodies to survive the almost freezing waters. Considered a delicacy by many, this white fleshed fish is exported to markets in Russia, Taiwan, China and Poland.

The recertification of this fishery covers operations by both companies, who use a combination of demersal or midwater trawling methods to catch between 70mt to 2000mt of icefish annually. This variation in annual allowable commercial catch is due to the highly variable natural recruitment of icefish, and also the aim to leave at least 75% of the available fish in the water for continued stock abundance and to feed various prey species.

As part of the effort to continually improve the fishery a number of conditions, or management actions, have been specified as part of the recertification. These conditions relate to limit and target reference points, harvest control rules and enhanced information concerning the impact on the ecosystem and habitats. Both companies have agreed to action plans in order to meet these conditions. 

Latest Jobs

Systems Administrator

We are looking for a Systems Administrator to join our award winning B2B media company. Read more

SG/C1/Marlab - Fisheries Advisor (IRC54392)

We are currently seeking applications for a Fisheries Advisor within Marine Scotland Science based i... Read more

Maintenance Manager

Marine Harvest Fish Feed (MHFF) is one of the newest divisions within Marine Harvest. Read more

Production Manager

Marine Harvest Fish Feed (MHFF) is one of the newest divisions within Marine Harvest. Read more

Fisheries Project Officer

The MSC operates the world’s most recognised fisheries certification and eco-labelling program. Read more

Fish Processor

An enthusiastic team player is required by Bibury Trout Farm to work in our fish shop area. Read more

View all jobs