Managing our mackerel

Mackerel has played a key role in the diets of Norwegians for centuries and now we share it with the world. Therefore, it is crucial that we manage our fish stocks, particularly in the spawning areas, so that we can enjoy this delicious and nutritious fish for years to come.

Norway, together with other coastal states, manages the mackerel in the northeast Atlantic. It’s worth noting that only the stock in the North Sea is distinct enough to warrant classification, and all mackerel in the northeast Atlantic is listed as a single stock.

Spawning stock biomass of Barents Sea capelin, Northeast Atlantic mackerel, Norwegian spring spawning herring, North Sea herring and blue whiting. 1985 - 2014

Chart showing stock size of pelagic species 1985-2014

*Source: IMR: Critical level of spawning stock (Blim): 1.84 million tonnes Precautionary level of spawning stock (Bpa): 3 million tonnes

*Economic and biological figures from Norwegian fisheries-2014

Protecting our stocks

Mackerel in the North-East Atlantic is spread out over a wide area and is managed through international management plans. These plans are in place to protect our stocks and since they have come into force, the levels of spawning stock have risen. They are now well above the precautionary level and the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) is satisfied that our mackerel is being harvested sustainably and has the opportunity to reproduce.

Graph showing stock size of mackerel 1980-2015

BLIM: Spawning stock limit reference point

BPA: Precautionary level

MSY BTRIGGER: Maximum sustainable yield; value of spawning stock biomass that triggers a specific action