Solitary Mackerel?

A black and green striped tiger of the sea homed in on the krill lure, bang, zig zag fireworks, how can a one pound weight fish have so much energy? How can the feel and sight of one mackerel hopping up the shingle bank inspire such a connection of reverence for this angler. Memories of plenty, Dunlaoghaire’s east and west piers and the coal harbour, Sorrento point, Bray head and Rostoonstown, places where mackerel shoaled once in their millions, then in ten thousands, falling to a thousand, a hundred, platoons of twenty and now alone.

A solitary mackerel for a grateful angler.

A cowardly and inept ICES suspended giving advice on the North East Atlantic mackerel fishery quota for 2014 citing flawed scientific modals pre 2012 and the availability of new information, which still has to be verified, indicating a spawning stock biomass in excess of that which had been previously thought.

Instead the organisation took a mean based on total official catches over the last three years, to include Iceland, the Faroe Islands, and Greenland, and set that as the quota. Hence upwards of 864,300 tonnes of mackerel will be removed from the North East Atlantic in 2014, the forth year in a row that close to 900,000 tonnes of mackerel have been extracted. When sustained annual fishing attrition of mackerel on this scale occurred before the North Sea mackerel fishery collapsed never to recover.

Postscript, 15/09/2014:

For the record, mackerel have appeared inshore at points all round Ireland. The language being used to describe the shoals observed such as “mackerel are shoaling in biblical numbers” is unhelpful to the species cause. In reality there are large pockets of aggregating mackerel but consider the size, many of these shoals consist of tiny joey mackerel, while others contain quite large mackerel. This is a sure sign of human predation and exploition, essentially what happens when you exploit a stock to the tune of 900,000 tonne a year, taking out the marketable size fish so that only the babies and larger adult fish remain.

Click On: ICES decision to increase the North East Atlantic mackerel quota is based on expedience rather than science.

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