Northeast Atlantic Mackerel, Pelagic otter trawl
- Content last updated
- 14 July 2021
- 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), Coastal States, EU-UK. Also Iceland, Greenland and Norway.
- 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 and the fishing mortality is assessed as below that associated with maximum sustainable yield.
ICES scientists continue to build an understanding of the evolution of this stock. However, there remains some uncertainty in the assessment. For details, follow the ICES assessment mac.27.nea link (link opens as a pdf).
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 there is a risk that this could result in catches higher than advised by science. Therefore, an agreement covering the management of the whole of the stock’s catches is needed.
In order to facilitate improved management of the Northeast Atlantic mackerel stock the North Atlantic Pelagic Advocacy Group (NAPA) has been formed as a partnership of retailers, food service companies and suppliers. The group will use its collective commercial leverage to advocate for coastal states to commit to, and establish fisheries management strategies and to agree sustainable quota shares for these shared pelagic stocks. For further information, follow the link to the North Atlantic Pelagic Advocacy Group.
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.