North Atlantic Pelagic Advocacy Group

The North Atlantic Pelagic Advocacy (NAPA) Group aims to improve pelagic fisheries management for the UK supply chain. Find out the latest news.
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NAPA is the unified voice of the marketplace

The North Atlantic Pelagic Advocacy Group (NAPA) is a collective of retailers and supply-chain businesses with a commitment to sourcing sustainable seafood. This collective is using its voice to advocate for long-term, science-based management of North East Atlantic pelagic stocks: for prospering oceans and fisheries, and business security.

North Atlantic Pelagic Advocacy Group

NAPA is a market-led approach to improve North Atlantic pelagic fisheries management. It was formed in response to the continuing dispute over mackerel quota allocation in the North East Atlantic. Over time, this dispute has resulted in annual catches well in excess of the advised level for three commercially important species: North East Atlantic mackerel (hereafter mackerel), Atlanto-scandian (Norwegian Spring Spawning) herring (hereafter herring), and North East Atlantic blue whiting (hereafter blue whiting).

NAPA partners are a collective of over 40 retailers, food service companies, and suppliers, representing the majority of the purchasing power for mackerel, herring, and blue whiting in the North East Atlantic.

NAPA aims to drive sustainability in these fisheries by securing an agreement on total allowable catches (TACs) in line with scientific advice, as well as long-term science-based fisheries management strategies. The group intends to tackle these issues through the establishment of a Fishery Improvement Project (FIP) for mackerel and herring, and a MarinTrust Improver Programme (IP) for blue whiting. The FIP and IP both serve to drive political will while holding key actors and decision-makers to account.


NAPA partners are a collective of over 40 retailers, food service companies, and suppliers. The group is using its collective commercial leverage to advocate for Coastal States to commit to, and establish fisheries management strategies, and to agree sustainable quota shares for shared pelagic stocks.


NAPA’s vision is to build a shared, global and non-competitive solution to sustainability issues in North East Atlantic pelagic fisheries.

In realising this vision, retailers will be able to source ethical, sustainable pelagics from fisheries in this region with confidence.

This confidence must be rooted in the knowledge that long-term, science-based management practices are in place, vocally supported by Coastal States’ decision-makers - meaning that supply is secure, and stocks will remain healthy into the future.

Policy Fishery Improvement Programme: Mackerel and Herring

The NAPA Policy Fishery Improvement Programme (FIP) is a concept designed, scoped and executed by NAPA to drive sustainability in mackerel and herring fisheries. It uses the framework of a traditional, science-based FIP as a guide for driving political action towards sustainable outcomes.

Responding to the removal of MSC certification for both of these fisheries in 2019 (mackerel) and 2020 (herring), the Policy FIP uses MSC assessment criteria to identify specific areas for action, leading to a programme of work and engagement to be undertaken between 2021-2024. NAPA’s approach is to pursue direct communication with Coastal States representatives to promote responsive, precautionary decision-making and adherence to sustainable exploitation levels.

Three core action points make up this novel Policy FIP:

  • Sustainable harvest strategies
  • Effective means for dispute resolution between Coastal States
  • Science-based decision-making by all management parties

NAPA’s Policy FIP provides a clear pathway to science-based fisheries management.

To ensure full transparency of its work, the FIP is independently audited and follows MSC certification criteria as benchmarks for sustainable practices.

The FIP was launched in April 2021. Follow this link to the website to find out more (link opens in a new window).

MarinTrust Improver Programme: Blue Whiting

As blue whiting is predominantly a ‘feed fish’, used within salmon aquaculture production (whereas mackerel and herring are caught for human consumption), NAPA’s engagement around this stock is structured around a different tool: the MarinTrust Improver Programme (IP). MarinTrust is a unique international certification programme for marine ingredient certification.

The IP is expected to commence in 2021. Find out more.

News and media releases

While the UN Ocean Conference backs sustainable fisheries, major Coastal States commit to continued overfishing back home

In the wake of the UN Ocean Conference, NAPA expresses alarm at the recent decisions of the Norwegian and Faroese governments to ignore calls for cooperation and set unilateral quotas for Northeast Atlantic mackerel. Access the press release on the following link below. 

NAPA reaffirms its commitment to sustainable pelagic fisheries in the Northeast Atlantic

NAPA has written a follow up statement to help clarify a misunderstanding around one of the conclusions of its recently published Position Paper. This new statement makes clear NAPA’s position on setting an appropriate quota allocation system. Access the statement using the link below. 

Open letter to politicians as major brands look for sustainable alternatives to overfished Northeast Atlantic mackerel

NAPA has issued an open letter to politicians as major brands look to South America for sustainable alternatives to overfished Northeast Atlantic mackerel, following a lack of decisive action towards sustainable pelagic fisheries management. Access the open letter using the link below. 

‘The status quo is unsustainable’

Despite ongoing Coastal States sharing discussions, the Faroese Ministry of Fisheries has independently confirmed their fleet’s quotas for blue whiting and Atlanto-Scandian herring in 2022.

The Faroes now joins the EU, UK, and Norway in setting Atlanto-Scandian herring quotas, and the UK and Norway in setting blue whiting quotas despite the continuing discussions. Access the press release on the following link below. 

Global supply chain unites in support of sustainable Northeast Atlantic pelagics, as NAPA nets top organisations from Canada, Australia, and Italy

Three more major organisations - Ocean Brands of Canada, Simplot Australia, and Bolton Group of Italy - have pledged their support to NAPA, sending a clear message to Coastal States. Access the press release on the following link below. 

NAPA Position Paper sends clear message to Coastal States

NAPA has released a position paper setting out actions and solutions that Coastal States can take to resolve the problem of pervasive unilateral quota-setting and overfishing in Northeast Atlantic pelagic fisheries.

Access the press release on the following link below:

NAPA Position Paper: The collective voice of the market is calling for change: will Coastal States listen?

NAPA have produced a position paper that supports Coastal States in achieving NAPA’s goals. Follow the link below to access the position paper. 


Annual Report 2021

Access the North Atlantic Pelagic Advocacy Group's first annual report by following the link below:

Spillage of 100,000 blue whitings a ‘drop in the ocean’ in comparison to routine overfishing by Coastal States, says global supply chain collective

NAPA says the ‘huge bank of dead fish’ seen off the coast of France last week is small fry - highlighting that over 1,700,000,000 blue whitings are overfished annually, due to Northeast Atlantic fishing nations failing to respect scientific advice for the stock.

Access the press statement on the following link: 

An open letter to politicians, calling for concrete action on quota sharing and sustainable pelagics management at upcoming Total Allowable Catches allocation talks

In an open letter, NAPA urges Ministers to work constructively to prioritise resolving allocation issues to ensure the overall catch for each stock does not overstep the scientific advice. Access the open letter by following the link below. 

Africa responds to NAPA’s call for sustainability in Northeast Atlantic pelagic fisheries

NAPA has announced its first member company from Africa as the latest addition to its supply chain coalition. Woolworths South Africa follows the first member from Japan earlier this summer, demonstrating ever-increasing global recognition of NAPA’s message and the far-reaching impacts of certification loss for supply chain businesses across the world. Access the press release by following the link below.  

MSC North Atlantic Program Director shares his views on the issues faced by North Atlantic stocks

Gisli Gislason, North Atlantic Program Director at the Marine Stewardship Council, shares his view on the difficulties facing these iconic commercial stocks in the Northeast Atlantic - and why the loudest in a sea of voices calling for change is the marketplace. 

Find out more by following the link below.

NAPA calls for Northeast Atlantic Coastal States to abide by scientific advice determined by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea

NAPA has released a press statement calling for contracting countries to abide by their own agreements, following the conclusion of the 2021 ‘Coastal States’ meetings this week.

Follow the link below to access the press statement. 

Sourcing Statements from NAPA Partners

NAPA harnesses the collective commercial leverage of its Partners to incentivise positive and enduring change in the sustainable management of Northeast Atlantic pelagic fisheries. This is done through policy-focused fishery improvement projects (FIPs). The aim of these FIPs is to use collective commercial pressure to drive management change, nationally and  internationally. If there is no meaningful improvement, within agreed timeframes, then NAPA Partners will review their individual purchasing decisions. NAPA partners are now issuing ‘sourcing statements’ that set out the consequences of failure. Follow the link below to access the sourcing statements. 

MarinTrust accepts North East Atlantic Blue Whiting FIP onto Improver Programme

NAPA has released a press statement on the formal acceptance of the North East Atlantic Blue Whiting FIP onto the MarinTrust Improver Programme. Follow the link below to access the press statement. 

NAPA welcomes first group member from Asia

The Japanese Consumers’ Co-operative Union (JCCU) has joined NAPA to support the joint Coastal States’ action on collaborative management of blue whiting, mackerel and herring.

NAPA position on Norway’s recent decision to set a unilateral quota for mackerel

NAPA has released a press statement criticising Norway for their recent action to set a unilateral quota for North East Atlantic mackerel. Follow the link below to view the press statement. 

NAPA has also written to the Heads of Delegations for each Coastal State to express our concerns at the recent actions of Norway and how they undermine the future sustainability of the mackerel stock. Follow the link below to view the letter. 

Policy Fisheries Improvement Project

The North Atlantic Pelagic Advocacy (NAPA) Group - a collective of 50 retailers and supply chain businesses working together to secure sustainable management of key pelagic stocks; launches ‘policy FIP’ to drive political will for long-term pelagics management.

Follow the link below to read the press release issued by NAPA. 

Further information


NAPA membership is open to any business that processes, sells or supplies a retailer/wholesaler/foodservice company, with North East Atlantic pelagic species of concern.

To find out more please contact Aoife Martin, Independent Chair of NAPA, at