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Mackerel Fisheries Unite to Start MSC Reassessment

14 July 2014

GLOBAL - Over 700 mackerel fishing vessels have started MSC reassessment. The fishing boats range from small coastal handline vessels through to large ocean-going pelagic trawlers. Between them, in 2013 they caught 450,000 tonnes of mackerel, around 83 per cent of the 2013 ICES recommended quota.

The multi-national fisheries have joined together as the Mackerel Industry Northern Sustainability Alliance (MINSA), a group formed to respond to the mackerel dispute in the North East Atlantic. The reason for the dispute is the continued overshoot of the Total Allowable Catch for the North East Atlantic mackerel stock, leading to the suspension of the MSC certificates of all North East Atlantic mackerel fisheries in April 2012. The move to enter their members’ vessels to reassessment in one audit underlines the fisheries confidence that the dispute will be resolved and echoes a similar move on Atlanto-Scandian herring in June.

The assessment includes:

• SPSG (Scottish Pelagic Sustainability Group)
• DPPO (Danish Pelagic Producers Organization)
• IPSA (Irish Pelagic Sustainability Association)
• IPSG (Irish Pelagic Sustainability Group)
• NFA (Norges Fiskarlag/The Norwegian Fishermen’s Association)
• PFA (Pelagic Freezer-trawler Association – Netherlands)
• SPFPO (Swedish Pelagic Federation Producers Organisation)

Unique cooperation

Ian Gatt of Scottish Pelagic Sustainability Group and MINSA coordinator said: “This is a huge commitment by the MINSA group to embark on joint certification of the North East Atlantic’s most valuable fish stock. Cooperation on this scale has never been seen before this side of the Atlantic but it’s a clear demonstration of our collective vision for a well-managed and sustainable mackerel fishery. MINSA is delighted FCI is taking forward the assessment on behalf of the group given their strong track record in delivering pelagic fishery assessments.”

“This international cooperation is a great response to a challenging situation,” says Camiel Derichs, MSC Director Europe, “By working together; they’re improving the management of the fishery and making real significant cost savings on their assessment against the MSC Standard. MINSA fisheries have been at the forefront of best practice for some time. It’s good to see them continuing that by coming together to enter their fisheries for reassessment. This reassessment is a strong demonstration of the fisheries’ confidence that the North East Atlantic mackerel situation will be resolved.”

TheFishSite News Desk

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