The Norwegian mackerel season is in progress during week 34 of 2023 with 23,900 tonnes registered norwegian quota uk zone

The Norwegian Fishermen’s Association has asked the Directorate of Fisheries to find a solution to fish-up the remaining quota in the UK zone. Photo: Norges Sildesalgslag

The Norwegian Fishermen’s Association has asked the Directorate of Fisheries to quickly assess whether a registration scheme can be organised combined with a possible lottery for Norwegian vessels, so that the remaining quota in the British zone can be fully utilised.

In a recent meeting held on November 1, 2023, the Executive Committee of the Norwegian Fishermen’s Association addressed key issues related to mackerel fishing regulations in the year 2023 and the potential redistribution of quotas. Here are the details of the discussion:

The Norwegian Fishermen’s Association referred to a communication from the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries, dated October 27, 2023, which focused on mackerel fishing regulations within the closed coastal group and the conclusion of mackerel fishing activities in the British zone.

Closed Coastal Group Fishing

According to the information received from the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries as of October 27, 2023, the closed coastal group had caught 46,162 tonnes of mackerel from the adjusted group quota of 47,007 tonnes. This leaves an 845-tonne remainder of the group quota. Notably, there were some minor discrepancies between these numbers and those found on the website of the Norwegian Pelagic Fishermen’s Sales Organisation (Norges Sildesalgslag).

Vessels under 15 metres in overall length and licence length have had a fully allocated quota unit of 100% since the final regulatory framework was established on June 13, 2023. However, there was a need to reduce the over-allocation of the maximum quota addition from October 10 of the previous year, primarily due to exceeding the closed coastal group’s group quota.

Recently, mackerel catches from vessels with a maximum quota addition have experienced a significant decrease, and information from the smaller fleet currently searching for mackerel stocks on the west coast suggests that no significant nearshore catches are expected for the remainder of the season/year. Therefore, the Norwegian Fishermen’s Association recommends that the maximum quota addition remains unchanged. The Association believes this would help instill confidence in the new regulatory model among vessel owners in the smallest fleet. Nevertheless, if mackerel catches from these vessels significantly increase in the coming weeks, a reevaluation of the maximum quota addition may be necessary.


Considerations for Future Regulations

The Norwegian Fishermen’s Association highlighted that there are several factors to consider regarding next year’s regulatory framework for the closed coastal group, based on experiences from this year’s fishing. These considerations include the over-allocation of the maximum quota addition and the consequences of regulating access quotas in the British zone, among others. These matters will be revisited in 2024 once the final Norwegian quota framework for 2024 is established, along with potential access to other countries’ zones.


Remaining Quotas and Quota Redistribution

As of the information available on the website of the Norges Sildesalgslag, there are around 36,500 tonnes of the Norwegian mackerel quota for 2023 still unutilized, excluding the flex quota for 2024. This means that the Norwegian quota utilization remains below 90%. The purse-seine group (about 20%), the ring-netting group (about 30%), and the trawl group (about 20%) hold the largest remaining quotas. The Norwegian Fishermen’s Association believes there is a need to consider reallocating maximum quota additions to vessels in the purse-seine group and the ring-netting group to ensure that at least 90% of the Norwegian quota is harvested.

The Norwegian Fishermen’s Association concurs with specific proposals for such maximum quota additions for vessels in the purse-seine group and the ingnetting, as outlined in a letter from Fiskebåt dated November 1, 2023.


Remaining Quota in the UK Zone

According to information from the website of the Norges Sildesalgslag, as of October 31, 2023, there are 411 tonnes remaining out of the Norwegian access quota in the British zone, which was initially set at 135,141 tonnes. These remaining quotas are distributed as follows: 89 tonnes from the ring-netting, 126 tonnes from the coastal group, and 168 tonnes from the trawl group. Fishing activities in the British zone have been halted for all groups except the trawl group.

The Fishermen’s Association states that it will return to the details of such an arrangement as soon as the Directorate of Fisheries has concluded on the request.


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