Mackerel fisheries unite for MSC reassessment


SeafoodSource staff

Published on
July 10, 2014

More than 700 mackerel fishing vessels will start MSC reassessment today. The fishing boats range from small coastal handline vessels to large ocean-going pelagic trawlers. Between them, in 2013 they caught 450,000 metric tons (MT) of mackerel, around 83 percent of the ICES recommended quota.

The multi-national fisheries have joined together as the Mackerel Industry Northern Sustainability Alliance (MINSA), a group formed to respond to the mackerel dispute in the North East Atlantic.

The dispute over the total allowable catch for the North East Atlantic stock lead to the suspension of the MSC certificates of all North East Atlantic mackerel fisheries in April 2012. The move to enter their members’ vessels to reassessment in one audit underlines the fisheries confidence that the dispute will be resolved and echoes a similar move on Atlanto-Scandian herring in June.

The assessment includes Scottish Pelagic Sustainability Group (SPSG), Danish Pelagic Producers Organization, Irish Pelagic Sustainability Association, Irish Pelagic Sustainability Group, The Norwegian Fishermen’s Association, Swedish Pelagic Federation Producers Organization and Pelagic Freezer-trawler Association – Netherlands.

“This is a huge commitment by the MINSA group to embark on joint certification of the North East Atlantic’s most valuable fish stock,” said SPSG’s Ian Gatt, MINSA coordinator. “Cooperation on this scale has never been seen before this side of the Atlantic but it’s a clear demonstration of our collective vision for a well-managed and sustainable mackerel fishery.  MINSA is delighted FCI is taking forward the assessment on behalf of the group given their strong track record in delivering pelagic fishery assessments.”    

“This international cooperation is a great response to a challenging situation,” said Camiel Derichs, MSC Director Europe, “By working together, they’re improving the management of the fishery and making real significant cost savings on their assessment against the MSC Standard. MINSA fisheries have been at the forefront of best practice for some time. It’s good to see them continuing that by coming together to enter their fisheries for reassessment. This reassessment is a strong demonstration of the fisheries’ confidence that the North East Atlantic mackerel situation will be resolved.”

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