Northeast Atlantic Mackerel, Pelagic otter trawl
- Content last updated
- 20 September 2019
- Mackerel (Scomber scombrus) in sub areas 1–7 and 14, and in divisions 8.a–e and 9.a (Northeast Atlantic)
- North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC), EU-Norway, Iceland, Greenland, Russia
- Stock Status
Northeast Atlantic mackerel has been scored a low risk. This is because both spawning stock biomass and fishing mortality are assessed as at safe levels. However, the fishing mortality is assessed as higher than that associated with maximum sustainable yield.
The status of the stock has changed since the previous advice given by ICES in October 2018 for catches in 2019. This is as a result of an inter-benchmarking process carried out in in March 2019, at which scientists met to examine the assessment and its data inputs.
The management of Northeast Atlantic mackerel has been scored a moderate risk. ICES Scientific advice uses an analytical assessment to advise on a Long –term management strategy, which is agreed by some, but not all, of the parties exploiting the stock.
Not all the catches from this stock are managed under the Coastal States’ international management arrangements, and this has previously resulted in catches higher than advised by science. Therefore, an agreement covering the management of the whole of the stock’s catches is needed.
The bycatch in the pelagic otter trawl fishery for Northeast Atlantic mackerel has been scored a moderate risk. This is because pelagic otter trawls have the potential to capture moderate levels of bycatch and occasional catches of vulnerable marine species. However, there is a consistent effort across all fleets to reduce bycatch levels, slippage and bycatch of protected, endangered and threatened species.
The habitat impact of the pelagic otter trawl fishery has been scored a low risk. This is because pelagic otter trawls have limited interaction with seabed habitat. In addition, there is far less danger of gear loss in pelagic fisheries than in demersal fisheries. This is partially due to the lack of contact with the seabed, but also because the nets are far lighter and an entangled net would more easily break and be recovered. No spatial management is in place to restrict the footprint of this gear on the seabed given that the habitat impacts of pelagic otter trawls is minimal.