Mackerel’s welcome return to plates

The Scottish mackerel processing industry has welcomed the return of mackerel to the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) Fish to Eat list – the essential guide to sourcing sustainable fish for UK consumers and restaurants.

According to the MCS, mackerel from the UK, Europe and Norway is once again a ‘good choice’ for consumers. But mackerel from other countries should be avoided – Icelandic and Faroese mackerel are the least sustainable choices.


The MCS released the latest update of its sustainable seafood guide ( yesterday (Thursday 25 September 2014).

The MCS is the second organisation to confirm that confidence in the sustainability for north east Atlantic mackerel has returned. In June, the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES) reissued its 2014 advice to reveal the stock is at full reproductive capacity and catches by the UK fleet are classified by ICES as harvested sustainably.

Ian McFadden, chairman of the Scottish Pelagic Processors Association (SPPA), says, “This is great news for the mackerel fishing and processing industries, wider economy and consumers.

“The reclassification of mackerel as a fish consumers can eat regularly, without threatening the sustainability of the stock, is testament to the seven north east Atlantic fisheries, which came together to agree a management plan to safeguard the sustainability of the mackerel stock. Mackerel stocks spawn and spend most of their time within European waters and recent studies have shown the stocks are currently approaching their highest known levels.

“Mackerel is once again a sustainable, affordable fish that is high in omega-3 and extremely healthy.

“Mackerel is the UK’s largest fishery, worth around £500 million and employing over 2,000 people, so this news is also vital for the UK economy.”

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