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Commercial Fishing



The latest advice on the Northeast Atlantic mackerel stock, from Seafish, has highlighted that management action needs to be taken to reduce fishing pressure and ensure the long term sustainability of the stock.

The status of the fishery is assessed annually by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) with the latest results revealing a continued reduction in the spawning stock biomass (SSB) estimates, which gives an indication of the status and reproductive capacity of the stock. 

However, the cause is unclear and there is uncertainty on whether the assessment results accurately reflect what is happening with the stock. ICES have instigated an additional benchmark process to investigate the uncertainties but in the meantime, responsible fisheries management procedures have been put in place. 

While the latest stock assessment results are a cause for concern it is important to note that fluctuations in a stock’s biological status are not uncommon. Sometimes a fishery is well managed but, for a range of reasons, the stock is not at an optimal level. Instead, it is important to maintain focus on how the management agency and fishery participants are responding to this information. This is likely to be a more reliable indicator of whether the long-term sustainability of the fishery can be assured.

Seafish Responsible Sourcing team have produced a briefing note to inform and reassure the UK seafood supply chain on the important processes underway to address the underlying Northeast Atlantic mackerel stock issues – it is available to download here from their website.