North Sea herring confirmed sustainable

North Sea herring has been confirmed by the ICES as sustainable North Sea herring has been confirmed by the ICES as sustainable

The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea’s (ICES) latest scientific advice has confirmed North Sea herring as sustainable as a result of the responsible fishing practices of Scotland’s pelagic fishermen.

ICES says North Sea herring stock continues to be harvested in a sustainable way with fishing pressure below the recommended level and stock abundance has continued to grow in the last few years but now seems to be levelling off – although still above all precautionary limits.

“The Scottish pelagic sector, through its sustainability group, is in the final stages of Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) re-certification for this stock having completed a full five year term in the programme. So this latest advice from ICES is welcome given our continued significant investment in MSC accreditation,” said Ian Gatt, chief executive, Scottish Pelagic Fishermen’s Association.

Last year, almost 40,000 tonnes of North Sea herring were landed by Scottish boats, making it the second most valuable fishery for the fleet.

The ICES has advised that catches in 2014 should be no more than 482,477 tonnes, including 470 037 tonnes for the A fleet (directed herring fisheries with purse-seiners and trawlers) and that activities that have a negative impact on the spawning habitat of herring, such as extraction of marine aggregates and construction on the spawning grounds, should not occur.

This new ICES advice will ensure there is continued supply of herring to both markets in the UK and Europe during 2014.

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