North-east Atlantic coastal states have announced an agreement on mackerel for 2023, with a 782,066 tonne catch limit.
This is a marginal reduction over the 794,920 tonne quota, and corresponds to ICES advice for the fishery.
Agreement on the overall TAC is only part of the story, and the obstacle remains of reaching agreement on how that TAC should be divided between the coastal states – something that hasn’t been achieved for the best part of a decade, and which has seen this and other pelagic fisheries stripped of their MSC certification.
The participating delegations have stated that several rounds of negotiations have already taken place this year and there is more to come.
According to a statement, discussions have gone into agreeing new management measures for the stock in 2023 and beyond, including a ‘comprehensive, inclusive and long-term quota-sharing arrangement and a new long term management strategy.’
Coastal states agreed that concluding such arrangements was of the utmost importance, and that they should continue to work together intensively on these matters with the aim of reaching an agreement as soon as practicable.
‘The delegations agreed, that in anticipation of agreeing a new suite of management measures, they would each initially set quotas for 2023 at levels which would contribute to a conducive environment for the conclusion of their consultations. Delegations shall inform each other of the quotas set ahead of resuming these consultations,’ the delegations stated.
Meetings will take place in February and March next year in London and Nuuk, with an agreed deadline of 31st March 2023 for final agreement. The delegations also agreed that the UK would continue to lead these consultations up to 31st March.