Norway’s Minister of Fisheries has asked the Marine Stewardship Council to re-assess mackerel certification

‘In light of the revised ICES advice, I believe that the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) must reconsider the suspension of the MSC Atlantic mackerel certification,’ said Norwegian Fisheries Minister Harald T Nesvik.

MSC announced on 31st January that it would suspend all Atlantic mackerel certification with effect from 2nd March 2019, based on information from ICES indicating a downward trend in the mackerel population.
In November last a 2019 mackerel quota of 653,000 tonnes was agreed between the EU, the Faroe Islands and Norway, with the states setting aside a proportion of this for other states.
This agreed amount still represented a 20% reduction compared to the previous year when the quota had been set at 816,000 tonnes – and significantly higher than the ICES advice, set at 318,000 tonnes.
The revised ICES recommendation is for a 770,000 tonne TAC, following a re-examination of the mackerel stock assessment methodologies.
According to the Norwegian authorities, they supply detailed information to the MSC auditors, to ensure that stocks achieve MSC certification.
‘Norwegian fisheries are managed sustainably. We work with this constantly and we do it well,’ Minister Harald T Nesvik said.
‘It is important to continue good management cooperation with our neighbours and listen to input from research communities. The most important thing would nevertheless be if other states that fish mackerel, Iceland, Greenland and Russia, would join together and respect the agreement between Norway, the EU and the Faroe Islands,’ he said, commenting that the Norwegian industry is paying the price of losing MSC certification due to other states unilaterally setting quotas that ensure the overall quota will be overshot.