Successful start-of-the-year fishery for Scottish mackerel fleet
The start-of-the-year Scottish mackerel fishery was successfully completed by the week ending 11 February, with the last fish caught on grounds to the west of the Butt of Lewis.
A notable feature of this year’s fishery has been the length of time the big shoals of mackerel have been present in Scottish waters – a five month period stretching from October to February – highlighting the importance of Scotland’s seas as home for these fish. This is a trend that could well continue into the future and is something the Scottish Pelagic Fishermen’s Association says fishery managers need to take cognisance of when allocating catch shares.
Meanwhile, the Atlanto-Scandian herring fishery for Scottish boats kicked-off this week, with the fleet targeting fishing grounds south of the Lofoten Islands. This is a short fishery, given that the UK has a relatively small quota of only around 10,000 tonnes.
Next week, the blue whiting fishery will commence for the Scottish fleet, with boats heading to grounds to the west of Ireland. There has been a large increase in quota this year due to the healthy state of the stock that has been aided by a recent peak in stock recruitment. The size of the quota means this fishery could last until the beginning of April.
Thereafter, a lull in activity for a few months will occur until the Scottish fleet resumes on the North Sea herring fishery in July, followed by the end-of-the-year mackerel season, which usually commences in October.