Seafood brands across Europe are set to market Chilean jack mackerel in extensive campaigns as an alternative to mackerel caught in the North-east Atlantic.
This follows the loss of MSC certification, first for mackerel in 2019, and subsequently for Atlanto-Scandian herring and blue whiting as coastal states have failed to agree on a division of the TACs.
According to the MSC, the outcome is a 40% over-exploitation of mackerel. As a result, some European brands are now looking to South America for certified sustainable mackerel to meet consumer demand for sustainable seafood.
German seafood brand Followfood is about to launch canned Chilean Jack Makrele in Germany. Leading retailers Migros in Switzerland, Delhaize in Belgium and Albert Heijn in Holland have all also recently started to sell Chilean jack mackerel as a sustainable alternative to North East Atlantic mackerel.
‘We consistently and uncompromisingly focus on sustainability in our seafood products. For us, the blue MSC label is the most important basis for our fisheries sourcing directives,’ said Julius Palm, responsible for Strategy & Brand at Followfood in Germany.
‘European mackerel fisheries in the North East Atlantic are poorly managed and have therefore lost the MSC label. This means they are no longer suitable for us. We are happy to have found a sustainable alternative with Chilean jack mackerel.’
According to Belgian manufacturer Charlier-Brabo Group (CBG), owner of First State seafood brand and supplier for Fish Tales, the loss of MSC certification for North-East Atlantic fisheries has disrupted the retail seafood landscape.
‘Non-MSC-certified North-East Atlantic mackerel has not been completely removed from product ranges. Unfortunately, this has sent the wrong signal to consumers,’ said CBG’s Category manager for fish and meat, Raf de Smet.
‘CBG, meanwhile, invested in MSC-certified jack mackerel from Chile. We hope that this worthy alternative will find wider uptake in European markets. We support the clear message that MSC certification is a must.’
Chilean jack mackerel is sustainably managed and fished, with the 15 nations catching Chilean jack mackerel in the South Pacific Ocean in agreement on a sustainable catch quota allocation.
The MSC states that this mackerel stock has a healthy stock size and the total catch amount is in line with scientific advice.