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Commercial Fishing



Healthy state of mackerel stock. Mackerel TAC advice up by 20%, underlining healthy state of the stock.
The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) has set its 2020 catch advice for some key North East Atlantic pelagic stocks, which includes significant increases for mackerel and North Sea herring.

Mackerel sees a 20% hike in the advised total allowable catch (TAC) to 922,064 tonnes in 2020 compared to the advice with 2019, underlining the healthy state of the stock, with recruitment of young fish at its highest level since records began. For North Sea herring, ICES has advised a catch of no more than 418,649 tonnes – a 38% uplift on the 2019 advice.

Irish Sea herring is also recommended for an increase – up by 20% to 8,064 tonnes. There is a small two per cent increase advised for blue whiting, and falls in TAC for Atlanto-Scandian herring (11%) and Western horse mackerel (42%).

The increase in the mackerel quota is likely to be regarded by the Mackerel Industry Northern Sustainability Alliance (MINSA) as a vindication of their efforts to get the current suspension of the Marine Stewardship Council certificate lifted. MINSA is an international grouping of pelagic fishermen set up to achieve and maintain MSC certification for NE Atlantic mackerel.

A recent Fact Sheet they issued stated that the grouping was committed to ensuring a sustainable future for the stock by participating in a wide range of industry initiatives.

The Fact Sheet said: “MINSA members are involved in a range of scientific measures relating to data collection to help improve the knowledge of the mackerel stock. Industry scientists are working closely with ICES in the provision of data and the stock assessment. Vessels are participating in surveys such as the mackerel egg survey and the IESSNS summer survey. Processing factories are collecting data from the mackerel tagging programme.”