The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) has downgraded mackerel from its list of fish suitable to eat to one which should now be eaten only occasionally as the on-going international arguments about quotas mean it is no longer a sustainable choice.
Bernadette Clarke of the MCS argues “ At the moment, the stock biomass according to the scientific data is above the levels that is recommended, however the number of fish being removed is above the target and too high.”
Unsurprisingly the commercial sector say the downgrading is premature and could be counterproductive and according to Bertie Armstrong of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation “The stock is actually still well above the precautionary level, even if Iceland and the Faroes continue to do this.”
That is, at least very dubious, given the additional amounts of the stock being taken compared to before the issue arose.
There have been 12 rounds of talks so far as political representatives try to hammer out an agreement on mackerel quotas. A spokesperson for the UK’s Department for the Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs (Defra) said: “The continued sustainability of mackerel is vitally important and is increasingly threatened by the actions of the Faroe Islands and Iceland. We are extremely concerned that an agreement on fishing rights has not yet been reached. That is why the UK continues to seek a new agreement that is fair to all.”
As usual the politicians will fiddle around in their own power games whilst fish stocks are allowed to decline and no doubt when there are none left for anyone to catch and no one is fishing for them, they’ll all be claiming a political victory.