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Scomber scombrus – goodbye to the Mackerel?

17 July 2011

It pains me to say this but the Icelandic and Faroese governments are COMPLETE GREEDY IGNORANT FOOLS!  Indeed the EU as a whole and as individual nations are not far behind.  This story has been brewing for some time.  Mackerel were formerly ignored by these two nations as a fishery as in the summer when they move to more northerly waters around the Shetlands and south-east Iceland, they were in their summer condition and not really suitable for human consumption, whereas they are widely eaten in the UK as they are caught in the winter off the western coasts of Britain and Ireland when they are in much better condition.  Iceland and the Faroes were not interested in catching them and about 64% of the annual catch of 640,000 tons went to the EU while 26% went to Norway and 5% to Russia and the Faroes. The booming world demand for fishmeal to feed to salmon/chickens etc. has however meant that the Icelanders and Faroese have demanded a much bigger share, and when they were rebuffed (under the Coastal Agreement that set the quotas) they pulled out of the agreement and set themselves 150,000 ton quotas each.  The Faroes have a population of about 50,000 and Iceland about 270,000 to put that into perspective.  The other nations have refused to cut their quotas in response.  The fishery is estimated at 3,000,000 tons in total so that means upwards of  940,000 tons will be fished this year.  Congratulations to the Faroe Islands and Iceland who will literally hoover up from the seas in Chinese/Russian/Far Eastern factory ships £75 million of mackerel each this year, before the whole fishery collapses to zilch in about three years.

Sunday Times 17th July page 17

The Blue Ocean Institute has not marked it down – yet…

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