ICES has published its advice for a reduction to next year’s mackerel and Atlanto-Scandian herring quotas and an increase in blue whiting.
The advice is for a 390,101-tonne quota for Atlanto-Scandian herring, 24% down on the 511,171-tonne agreed quota for this year, although ICES predicts that this year’s catch will come to 693,000 tonnes. The stock is judged to be on a downward trajectory and due to weak year classes after 2016, it is expected to continue to decline until 2025, even if the quota advice is adhered to.
A 5% reduction is advised for mackerel, with a recommended 739,386-tonne TAC compared to this year’s 8782,066-tonne advice. The spawning stock is judged to be in a healthy state, although ICES estimates fishing pressure to be above FMSY.
For blue whiting ICES recommends a TAC of 1,529,754 tonnes for 2024, 13% up on the agreed 1,359,629 tonnes for the current year. The stock is thought to be biologically strong, although the 2023 catch is estimated to come to 1,670,000 tonnes and is supported by strong 2020 and 2021 year classes as the blue whiting stock is expected to continue to grow into 2025.
ICES has also upped its advice for horse mackerel in the North Sea and Skagerrak to 9730-tonne TACs for 2024 and 2025, an increase of 8% – although the recommendation is for zero catch of western horse mackerel in 2024.