The removal of mackerel from a list of sustainable fish to eat has been branded ‘premature’ by the Scottish Conservatives.
The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) said today mackerel should only be eaten occasionally and urged consumers instead to choose herrings or sardines.
The move has come despite significant efforts by Scottish mackerel fishing fleets in recent years to fish responsibly, a tactic which has been ignored by counterparts in Iceland and the Faroe Islands.
A catch limit for mackerel states EU countries and Norway take 90.38% of the share, but neither Iceland nor the Faroes are bound by the agreement.
Scottish Conservative fisheries spokesman, Jamie McGrigor MSP, says: ‘I believe that the MCS has acted prematurely in removing mackerel from this list and that Scottish consumers should be able to continue to enjoy mackerel as a sustainably caught stock.
‘The reason that mackerel has been on the MCS list up until now is in large part due to the sensible and sustainable fishing of the mackerel stock by Scottish pelagic fleet, for which they should be congratulated.
‘The present concern about mackerel stocks arises because Iceland and the Faroes have suddenly increased their take hugely and this instability, in what was previously a well-managed global pelagic stock, has the potential to hit future stock sustainability.
‘Iceland and the Faroes must re-enter talks with the EU without delay to avoid this outcome and ensure a balanced deal that helps underpin both mackerel stocks and the fishermen and communities which depend on them.’