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Conservationists' advice hits sales of mackerel

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: February 23, 2013

Handlining is the most sustainable way to fish for mackerel – the Westcountry handline fleet has just 0.83% of the total UK quota

Handlining is the most sustainable way to fish for mackerel – the Westcountry handline fleet has just 0.83% of the total UK quota

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Sales of mackerel in the Westcountry have fallen after the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) removed the popular fish from its list of those suitable to eat.

The South West Handline Fishermen's Association said fishmongers' customers had taken the advice to heart.

And association secretary David Muirhead said the society's comments, made last month, had hit a "sustainable" local fleet when the issues lay elsewhere.

"Most of the mackerel is caught by large trawlers fishing off the north Scottish coast and further north," he added. "These vessels are capable of catching several hundred tonnes per night. In contrast, most of the mackerel caught in the South West is taken by small vessels fishing with handlines. This is a highly sustainable method of catching fish and causes absolutely no danger to the stocks."

Mr Muirhead highlighted that the local handline fleet had just 0.83% of the total UK quota for mackerel.

A MCS spokesman said: "Our advice clearly states that for people to ensure they eat mackerel as sustainably as possible, they source it from local fisheries using traditional methods such as handlining. This is the reverse of the effect we might have anticipated."

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3 comments

  • billinbarum25  |  February 24 2013, 5:38PM

    i'm not a commercial fisherman.. i quoated from commercial fishermen i have known

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  • crgee  |  February 24 2013, 2:03PM

    billinbarum25........''firstly in my experience most commercial fishermen dont care about conserving fish stocks and are only interested in making as much profit as fast as possible, "grab as much as possible today before others can...i'll worry about stocks another day". Just about sums up most of British life today...

  • billinbarum25  |  February 23 2013, 7:54PM

    the public need to be given clear concise information if they want to eat any fish sustanably, to be able to do so means all agencies supplying the info must collate their facts but in truth this will never happen, firstly in my experience most commercial fishermen dont care about conserving fish stocks and are only interested in making as much profit as fast as possible, "grab as much as possible today before others can...i'll worry about stocks another day". government are only interested in how much money they can get in taxes from all aspects of fishing, if government really wanted to help conserve stocks for the future around our coast they could learn from Icelands example in the 1970's, their fish stocks are now very healthy and sustained, finally conservation agencys need to combine and ensure all their facts and knowlege is used as one to educate not only the public but to force government into practicle actions

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