Pelagic Freezer-Trawler Association North East Atlantic mackerel pelagic trawl
Certified as sustainable on 10th July 2009.
The Conformity Assessment Body, Intertek Moody Marine, have accepted the final corrective action plan put forward by the Mackerel Industry Northern Sustainability Alliance (MINSA) for the
Suspension of the fishery certificate will not be lifted until all stated goals of the corrective action plan have been fully met and the harmonised condition of certification is met in full..
Please refer to the assessment downloads section for further information.
Species: Mackerel (Scomber scombrus)
Location: ICES Divisions IIa, IVa, Vb, VI, VII, VIIIa, VIIIb, XII and XIV.
Fishing methods: Single and pair pelagic mid-water trawl.
Number of fisheries: 1
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Fishery Fact Sheet
More about mackerel
The North-East Atlantic (NEA) mackerel (Scomber scombrus. L) is widely distributed from the Iberian peninsula in the south to the Norwegian Sea and the North Sea in the north. Over this area it may be found from over the deep waters of the shelf edge right up to the coastal waters of the whole area, including the English Channel and Irish Sea.
The mackerel is a member of the Scombridae family, which includes a large number of species, distributed widely throughout the world. The mackerel has the most northerly distribution of the family and one of its main distinguishing features is the lack of a swim bladder, which enables it to change depth rapidly. It is a pelagic fish spending most of its time in mid-water traveling in large dense, shoals, often at great speed and making very long migrations. It is a voracious, opportunistic feeder. Whilst it feeds mainly on the rich supply of zooplankton, in spring and summer, it does also take small pelagic fish including myctophids which migrate up to the near surface waters at night. As a result of its diet it is a very oily fish, building up high energy reserves during the spring and summer which it needs both for migration and subsequent gonad development during the following winter.
More about the fishing methods
In terms of fishing effort the large freezer vessels are limited by the daily processing capacity of the factory deck, usually 200-250 tonnes per day. Mid-water trawlers are limited only by the capacity of their refrigerated seawater tanks (RSW’s) or their fish holds in the case of fresh fishers.
A typical PFA vessel locates shoals of fish using its sonar equipment. The trawl is then deployed, and the sonar on the vessel and a transponder suspended on the trawl are used to guide the trawl to the fish shoal. The quantity of fish in the trawl is monitored during fishing to determine when to recover the net (the main concern being the risk of bursting the net with too many fish). When the trawl is recovered to the stern of the vessel, fish are pumped from the cod-end of the trawl into refrigerated sea water tanks in the vessel where they are chilled. The fish are then pumped from these tanks to grading machinery, and subsequently transported by conveyer to plate freezers where they are frozen into blocks, each weighing 20-22kg, depending on the grade of fish. Once the fish are frozen they are removed from the plate freezer, sealed, packaged, labelled (with a unique batch number), and stored in the refrigerated hold of the vessel at -23ºC.
82,000 tonnes for 2011
The major market for MSC certified mackerel would be within the EU. Some product is exported outside of the EU.