February 2013

South West Hand-line Fisherman’s Association

Response to statement made by Marine Conservation Society on the sustainability of the Mackerel fishery

“The problem raised by the MCS is due to Iceland and Faeroe Islands catching more Mackerel than the amount agreed with the EU and Norway. This has pushed the annual catch of the vessels fishing for Mackerel in the North East Atlantic beyond the amount recognised by┬áscientists. Most of the Mackerel is caught by large trawlers fishing off the North Scottish coast and further north. These vessels are capable of catching several hundred tonnes per night.

In contrast most of the Mackerel caught in the Southwest is taken by small vessels with handlines. This is a highly sustainable method of catching fish and causes absolutely no danger to the stocks.

Further to this, the Southwest handline fleet has a quota of 0.83% of the total UK quota for Mackerel or 1750 tonnes, which ever is the higher. An average day’s catch for a handline vessel is 100 to 200 kg’s. Fuel consumption is often as low as a few litres a day.

Purchasing handline caught Mackerel will therefore have no adverse effect on the Mackerel stock. Therefore people should continue to buy high quality locally caught handline fish.

David Muirhead, secretary, Southwest Handline Fisherman’s Association