top of page

Mackerel fishery opens Sunday in NL waters, no word yet on 2021 price

The mackerel fishery is scheduled to reopen this coming Sunday (Aug. 15) in NL waters for the remaining 2,000-tonne quota, but no word yet on the 2021 price paid to inshore harvesters.

The 2021 Atlantic mackerel quota has been set at 4,000 tonnes. Mackerel landings peaked at 420,000 tonnes in 1973.

The 2021 quota for Atlantic mackerel was set at 4,000 tonnes (half the 2020 quota), but was divided in half to account for the migration of mackerel through Maritime/Quebec/NL waters, and to give all fleets a chance to catch some.

That's even though catches by NL harvesters represented the vast majority of Canadian landings for years. Landings by our harvesters exceeded 40,000 tonnes three times between 2004 and 2010 — representing 80% of total Canadian landings during that period. Find that information here.

According to the schedule set by the province’s fish price setting panel, the price of mackerel is to be negotiated by the FFAW and processors by today (Aug. 11th) , or it will go to the panel Thursday to make a decision.


The per pound price paid to harvesters in 2020 was down a fraction from 2019:

200-400 gram, 22¢/lb

400-600 gram, 26¢/lb

600 gram plus 34¢/lb.

Find the price decision here.

Last year the FFAW argued the share to harvesters has not kept pace with markets, particularly in 2019, and requested a share “recalibration.”

In response, the province’s price-setting panel said straight up it “does not have access to the information required to make an informed, evidence-based decision on this issue.”

Both the union and processors were urged to “share” information.

Good luck with that.


DFO cut the 2021 mackerel in half from 2020's TAC of 8,000 tonnes. Find reaction here.

Mackerel landings peaked at 420,000 tonnes in 1973.

During the 1980s/’90s, Canadian landings averaged around 22,000 tonnes per year — reaching a high of 55,726 tonnes in 2005. From 2000 to 2010, landings averaged 40,498 tonnes, followed by a huge drop to 4,272 tonnes by 2015. From 2016 to 2019, annual landings averaged about 8,700 tonnes.

DFO has classified Atlantic mackerel in the critical zone (meaning catches are to be kept to a minimum) since 2011. DFO blames high fishing mortality, low spawning stock biomass, and poor recruitment as the main factors hindering rebuilding.

Between 2013 and 2017, the annual landed value of the Atlantic mackerel fishery averaged $7.4 million.

Meantime, the 2021 mackerel quota for Norway, the European Union, and the Faroe Islands is 853,000 tonnes, although the countries couldn’t agree to sharing arrangements after Brexit, and unilaterally set their own.

Ryan Cleary,


Independent licensed owner-operators are encouraged to join SEA-NL here. These blog posts will be public for a limited time, before becoming exclusive to the membership.

462 views1 comment

1 Comment

Aug 11, 2021

What an amazing Quota. The average landings 1965-1985 AVERAGE/year for Nova Scotia, PEI and New Brunswick was 132,000 MT.(excluding Nfld/ Labrador.. I have all the 20 year average charts for those provinces. It took me 4 years to do, including the charts for NFLD. which(Nfld./Labrador) are misplaced from one of my jobs which was approved by the Premier and his team, and then thrown in the garbage, using the approved money be big business leeches to swat a fly off a rock, of to simply put in their pockets?.

When I fished during the above averaged period, all day long we were surrounded by multiple large schools. of mackerel, In the 1990's I seldom ever saw a single school of…

Post: Blog2_Post
bottom of page