PelAC calls on the EU Commission take action to stop Norway and the Faroe Islands overfishing the Northeastern Atlantic Mackerel stock
The Pelagic Advisory Council (PelAC) written to the Director-General of DG MARE, Charlina Vitcheva asking that the EU Commission take immediate action to stop Norway and the Faroe Islands overfishing the Northeastern Atlantic Mackerel stock.
PelAC claim that the two coastal states are behaving irresponsibly, and they are contravening the UN Convention on the Law of the Seas by carrying on their actions. They have called for a long-term management strategy to be implemented in line with internationally agreed objectives of fishing below levels that can produce MSY.
In a letter to the Directorate-General they state:
“The PelAC recommends following the ICES MSY-advice and setting the TAC in 2022 at 794.920 tons.
The PelAC requests immediate action by the Commission to urge Norway and the Faroe Islands to stop the massive overfishing of mackerel in the Northeast Atlantic stock, jeopardizing the sustainable management of the stock. Consequently, the PelAC urges the Commission to act decisively against this irresponsible behaviour which is contrary to UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and particularly the 1995 Stradling Stocks Agreement, considered as IUU fishing, by using adapted instruments at its disposal. Therefore, the PelAC reiterates the urgent need for the European Commission and the Coastal States to adopt a sharing arrangement to respect catch levels that allow compliance with MSY.
The PelAC reinforces the need for the EU and Coastal States to adopt a Long-Term Management Strategy that is considered precautionary by ICES, in line with the internationally agreed objectives of fishing below levels that can produce MSY by 2015, but also that aims to achieve long-term sustainable fisheries taking an ecosystem-based approach to fisheries management that considers ecosystem and climate-driven changes in the productivity of mackerel in the Northeast Atlantic.
Considering the most recent ICES advice and the level of uncertainty in the assessment, the PelAC suggests selecting a combination of Ftarget and Btrigger that gives additional stability to the catches in the medium and long term. The PelAC refers to the Management Strategy Evaluation conducted in 2020 that provides recent and long-term stock assessments as management options that are scientifically supported and consistent with internationally agreed objectives. The PelAC recommends asking ICES to include recently published research on mackerel fecundity (T. Jansen et al. 2021) into the mackerel stock assessment.
The PelAC recommends asking ICES to seek a resolution of assessment issues when a new year data set is included in the assessment.
Additionally, the PelAC recommends a review by ICES of the stock components and protection measures in place for this stock Furthermore, the PelAC would appreciate the Commission support in having the PelAC actively consulted by ICES in the process of developing a formal method for incorporation stakeholder information to ICES advice.
Finally, in July 2021 the PelAC has conveyed a general request to ICES to incorporate information to the ICES advice sheets for all stocks as to whether a stock has passed through the Transparent Assessment Framework (TAF). ICES has yet to take a final decision in this regard and the PelAC would appreciate the Commission’s follow-up with ICES on this issue.”