ICES PELAGIC SCIENCE ADVICE Published:  12 October, 2009

Commenting on Friday’s publication of the ICES pelagic science advice, Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead said:

We will carefully consider this scientific advice as we work with the industry and others to secure the best possible deal for Scotland s fishing communities and the sustainability of our stocks at this year s negotiations.

The advice on mackerel suggests the sustainability of Scotland s principal pelagic stock is potentially under threat. Even though the stock is in a healthy state for now, no stock could sustain this degree of irresponsible overfishing by other countries, which may be as high as 30 per cent.

Scotland abides by its quota on mackerel and has been rewarded with MSC accreditation the gold standard of sustainability – as a result of its good management practice. I simply do not accept that Scottish fishermen should be losing out on catch opportunities as a result of the irresponsible behaviour of others. I raised this issue with Commissioner Borg last week and will do so again at the EU Fisheries Council in Luxembourg later this month.

BackgroundICES has today released advice on widely distributed stocks (Norwegian spring spawning herring, Northeast Atlantic mackerel, blue whiting, and horse mackerel), North Sea sandeel and Norway pout. The advice is available from the ICES web-site: