Home Advocate Buyers call for further reductions in North East Atlantic pelagic quotas

Buyers call for further reductions in North East Atlantic pelagic quotas


According to the North Atlantic Pelagic Advocacy Group (NAPA).

ICES has indicated that the Northeast Atlantic mackerel catch in 2023 is not expected to exceed 782,066 metric tons (MT); a reduction of 1.6% from its 2022 advice. However, in a statement released ahead of its annual coastal states meetings, NAPA said the agreed total allowable catch (TAC) for 2022 was set at 1,131 416 MT. Therefore, to follow ICES advice in 2023, a 31% reduction is needed, he said.

Similarly, ICES reported that catches of Atlanto-Scandian herring in 2023 do not exceed 511,171 MT; a 14.6% reduction from the 2022 advice. However, in 2022 there was no agreement on the TAC; the sum of the unilateral quotas declared by the different parties was 827,963 MT. NAPA said to follow ICES advice next year, a 38% reduction is needed.

The overfishing of these stocks has “a major impact on seafood businesses”, from the catching sector to retailers, he said.

“Mismanagement of these fisheries has so far led to the loss of Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification,” he said. “The loss of certification means that the fisheries are no longer publicly recognized against well-known independent certification programs for fisheries sustainability.”

Regarding the increased advice for blue whiting – no more than 1,359,629 MT; an 81% increase from 2022 – NAPA warned the rise was not due to better inventory management.

“On the contrary, unprecedented levels of recruitment have flooded the fishery, effectively masking the underlying issues of inadequate management and governance, from which mackerel, herring and blue whiting collectively suffer,” he said.

Blue whiting recruitment is now estimated at an all-time high of 71.6 billion fish, up from 22.8 billion last year.

The preliminary catch for 2022 has been calculated at 1,107,529 MT. Thus, compared to 2022, there is a possibility of a 23% increase in the TAC.

“The high council for blue whiting offers a golden opportunity for coastal states. The revised abundance estimates allow all parties to reduce their allocations and ensure that the TAC does not exceed scientific advice without making real-term reductions. Will they take this chance? NAPA said.

NAPA said the blue whiting fishery also lost its MarinTrust certification, which is conditional on MSC certification.

“The ripple effect on fisheries’ biggest customer, salmon farming, is a significant step backwards in responsible business practices and will impact retailers and catering businesses, as well as consumers, who require sustainable marine ingredients in animal feed,” he said. .

Formed in 2019 in response to the ongoing dispute over quota allocations in the Northeast Atlantic, NAPA has over 50 members spanning catering businesses, processors, buyers and retailers from Europe, Africa , North America and Japan. Together, these companies hold an €802 million ($781.5 million) share of Northeast Atlantic pelagic purchases.

NAPA argues that the conditions that have led to this overfishing are political and that coastal states simply need to agree on catch shares that follow ICES advice. Whether no improvement is made, individual NAPA members will reconsider their buying decisions, with some companies pledging to stop sourcing from fisheries.

Photo courtesy of Arild Lilleboe/Shutterstock