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UK mackerel stocks at highest level for 26 years

16 June 2014 by
UK mackerel stocks at highest level for 26 years

North East Atlantic mackerel stocks are at their highest level for over a quarter of a century, according to the latest survey by the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES).

ICES re-issued 2014 advice reveals that the North East Atlantic mackerel stock is at "Full Reproductive Capacity", and catches by the UK fleet are classified by ICES as "Harvested Sustainably".

The stock survey, carried out in 2013, has confirmed reports of UK fishermen who have reported record sizes of mackerel shoals in recent years.

ICES is now confident in its advice there is a spawning biomass of almost 4.5 million tonnes of mackerel in the North East Atlantic, compared with 1.9 million tonnes in 2002 The organisation has more than doubled its catch recommendation for 2014 compared to that given for 2013.

Ian McFadden, chairman of the Scottish Pelagic Processors Association (SPPA), said: "This is fantastic news and testament to the seven North East Atlantic fisheries, which came together to agree a management plan to safeguard the sustainability of the mackerel stock.

"It's also great news for the consumer. Mackerel is an affordable, extremely healthy fish, high in Omega 3.

"And it's good news for the UK economy after years of concern within the industry. Mackerel is the UK's largest fishery. It is worth around £500m and employs over 2,000 people.

"UK mackerel is now expected to be one of the first mackerel fisheries to undergo a full reassessment against the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). This commitment to sustainability reaffirms British caught and processed mackerel is the best choice for consumers in terms of quality and sustainability."

Evidence of the sustainability of mackerel has been steadily improving for over a year. Last year the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) re-rated British mackerel as the best sustainable choice for consumers.

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