Northeast Atlantic Mackerel, Purse seine
- 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
Very low risk
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 risk of this fishery has been scored a moderate risk. This is because purse seine fisheries are at risk of capturing Endangered Threatened or Protected species such as marine mammals, birds and sharks. However these species are relatively easy to release alive from purse seines and the bycatch of other pelagic species is low. The majority of the Norwegian catch is taken by purse seine vessels, targeting mackerel overwintering close to the Norwegian coastline. A purse seine fleet is also the most important component of the Spanish fleet. There are numerous vessels in the fleet that target mackerel early in the year close to the northern Spanish coast. Denmark also has a purse seine fleet operating in the northern North Sea. Bycatches of other species are less common in the purse seine Norwegian fishery which tends to identify and target single species shoals. However, small by catches of herring and horse mackerel are sometimes taken. Little information is available on the catches of protected, threatened and endangered species in the Norwegian purse seine fishery, which has the potential to accidentally catch both marine mammals and birds.
The habitat risk of the purse seine fishery has been scored a very low risk. This is because purse seines do not make contact with the seabed and therefore have no impact on vulnerable marine habitat.