Scottish Pelagic Sustainability Group Ltd western component of north east Atlantic mackerel
Certified as sustainable on 21st January 2009
The Conformity Assessment Body, Food Certification International Ltd., 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..
Species: Mackerel (Scomber scombrus)
Location: ICES divisions VI, VII, and IVa
Fishing methods: Mid-water trawl
Vessels: 21 Scottish owned and operated large RSW (refrigerated seawater) pelagic mid-water trawl vessels
Number of fisheries: 1
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Fishery Fact Sheet
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More about mackerel
Mackerel is a pelagic fish spending most of its time in mid-water travelling in large dense, shoals, often at great speed and making very long migrations. It is a voracious, opportunistic feeder and feeds mainly on zooplankton, but also on some small pelagic fish. As a result 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
The vessels are modern and technologically advanced with on-going investment in state of the art technology. Modern electronic equipment such as sonar, net and catch monitors has greatly improved the precision of this method of fishing. Pelagic trawls are towed at the appropriate level in the water column to intercept target shoals, with gear depth being controlled by altering towing speed and/or warp length. As a result, there is no impact on bottom habitats and bottom structures. The mid-water trawl used by the Scottish pelagic fleet is designed and rigged to fish in midwater, including in the surface water. The large net (considerably larger than a demersal trawl net) consists of a cone shaped body, ending in a codend with lateral wings extending forward from the opening. The horizontal opening is maintained by mid-water otter boards whilst the vertical opening is maintained by chain on the groundline and floats on the headline – although these are not always required – depending on the way the net is rigged.
140,000 tonnes (2009 data)
Landings from the Scottish pelagic vessels that fish the Western mackerel fishery are used entirely for human consumption. Most of such landings are processed locally before export as frozen product to significant markets in Japan, Eastern Europe and sub-Saharan Africa, or to intermediate markets in Western Europe and South East Asia. Some vessels also land into Norway although the proportion of landings into overseas ports has greatly reduced in recent years due to the increased competitiveness of UK processors, increased vertical integration and stronger links between Producer Organisations and processors.