FISHERMEN have welcomed a review of the north east Atlantic mackerel stock, which was found to be ‘much greater’ than previously assessed.
The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) revealed in a report last week that the methods used to assess the stock in 2018 were flawed.
Due to ‘issues with the tagging data’, the stock had been estimated at 2.3 million tonnes, but has now been re-assessed at nearly double that, at 4.16 million tonnes.
Ian Gatt, chief executive of the Scottish Pelagic Fishermen’s Association, said: ‘We welcome this rigorous independent scientific reassessment by ICES and it comes as no surprise to us that the stock abundance of north east Atlantic is much greater than previously estimated, which also aligns with what our fishermen are seeing on the fishing grounds.
‘We are also pleased that in light of the robust state of the stock, which is the most valuable in the north east Atlantic, ICES is undertaking a special scientific workshop in May, which will strategically examine the various data sources to enable improved assessments in the future.
‘Hopefully, this now paves the way for the lifting of the suspension of Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification of the fishery in the near future.
‘As a responsible industry, we are committed to the long term sustainability of the north east Atlantic mackerel stock and ensuring we have in place effective management measures to achieve this.’
Picture: Ian Gatt