The publication on the 1st October of the scientific advice for the 2020 catch of North East Atlantic mackerel by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) has confirmed that the stock is in good shape, making mackerel an excellent sustainable purchase choice for consumers, according to the Mackerel Industry Northern Sustainability Alliance (MINSA).
The assessment by ICES puts the spawning stock biomass at a very high level of 4.4million tonnes. This is more than 2.4 million tonnes above the limit reference point. The advice also shows that the 2016-2018 recruitment (the amount of young fish entering the fishery) is also at its highest level since records began. As such, ICES is 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, said: “This advice confirms that the mackerel stock is in good shape and it is particularly pleasing to see healthy recruitment levels. 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.
“All members of MINSA are committed to a sustainable future for the fishery and are involved in a range of scientific measures relating to data collection to help improve our knowledge of the mackerel stock.”