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Mackerel landings at 57% of remaining TAC

As of Friday, Sept. 24th, DFO reports that 1,147 tonnes of mackerel — 57% of the remaining 2,000-tonne total allowable catch (TAC) for 2021 — have been taken.

This year’s TAC 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 land some.

That's even though catches by NL harvesters represented the vast majority of Canadian landings for years. (Find that information in the mackerel rebuilding plan here.)

The second 2,000-tonne portion of the overall mackerel quota opened in NL waters on Aug. 15. SEA-NL wrote about mackerel price here.


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.

Undercurrent News reported recently that there will likely be a reduction in their 2022 mackerel quota. Recent survey results reveal a 58% drop in biomass since 2020.

The article also speculated that a drop in landings will translate into an increase in prices.

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.

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Sep 27, 2021

In the 1960-1980 timeframe for the whole North Atlantic Fishery, I charted the average catches by ICNAF sub-area, for +15 major fish species including mackerel.. The 20 year time span would give a good idea of what harvest value was sustainable. It covered the area where Draggers and seiners were grossly overfishing the stocks. I wanted to see how the landings in future would compare to before fish destructive methods, compared to after destructive fishing methods. Do you have anyone who would like to update the harvest charts, which by now seem to be about 15-20% of what responsible harvesting catches would be. In other words, the present control and monitoring of the Worlds Largest Fish Banks harvesting fishing metho…

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