Disappointment over MSC mackerel suspension

Scots mackerel fishers welcome ICES report

Following the publication last week (4 April) by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) of a report that reviews the methods used in the 2018 Northeast Atlantic mackerel stock assessment, which concludes that there were flaws in the methodology due to issues with the tagging data, and which now assesses the stock size to be much greater at 4.16m tonnes than the previous estimate of 2.3m tonnes, Ian Gatt, chief executive of the Scottish Pelagic Fishermen’s Association, said:

“We welcome this rigorous independent scientific reassessment by ICES and it comes as no surprise to us that the stock abundance of Northeast Atlantic is much greater than previously estimated, which also aligns with what our fishermen are seeing on the fishing grounds.

“We are also pleased that in light of the robust state of the stock, which is the most valuable in the Northeast Atlantic, ICES is undertaking a special scientific workshop in May which will strategically examine the various data sources to enable improved assessments in the future.

“Hopefully, this now paves the way for the lifting of the suspension of Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification of the fishery in the near future. As a responsible industry, we are committed to the long term sustainability of the Northeast Atlantic mackerel stock and ensuring we have in place effective management measures to achieve this.”