Mackerel stock in ‘good shape’

High mackerel stock levels in the North East Atlantic make the fish a sustainable choice for consumers Photo: MINSA High mackerel stock levels in the North East Atlantic make the fish a sustainable choice for consumers Photo: MINSA

Recent scientific advice published by the International Council of the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) has confirmed that mackerel is a sustainable choice for consumers, says the Mackerel Industry Northern Sustainability Alliance (MINSA).

The assessment by ICES puts the spawning stock biomass in the North East Atlantic at a very high level of 4.4 million tonnes, more than 2.4 million tonnes above the limit reference point. The advice also shows that the 2016-2018 number of young fish entering the fishery is also at its highest level since records began. ICES is therefore recommending a total allowable catch of 922,064 tonnes in 2020, a 20% increase on the last catch advice issued in May 2019.

Ian Gatt, MINSA coordinator, welcomed the news. “This advice confirms that the mackerel stock is in good shape and it is particularly pleasing to see healthy recruitment levels,” he said. “This means that consumers can continue to purchase mackerel safe in the knowledge that the stock is healthy and being sustainably fished.

“Hopefully, this scientific assessment will result in a re-scoring of the fishery against the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) standard which could ultimately result in the current certificate suspension being lifted. To aid this process, we call on all coastal states involved in the fishery to work towards a comprehensive mackerel agreement.”

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