Trial mackerel inshore fishery 2014-2017: review

A background to the creation of the inshore mackerel fisheries and review of the impacts of the 2014-17 trial period of expanded access and quota allocation.


In 2000, 300 tonnes of North Sea mackerel was ring-fenced from the UK allocation for fishing by Scottish 10mu vessels in the northern North Sea (sea area IVa), north of the latitude on which Peterhead sits, and including the waters around Orkney and Shetland.

In 2007, in response to growing participation in the fishery, 2 distinct 'pools' of quota were created; dividing the 300 tonnes between the 'Moray Firth' and 'Shetland'. In 2008, further measures were introduced to ensure that the summer mackerel season was not closed early, as had occurred in 2006 and 2007. Following consultation with those with an interest, Handline Mackerel Entitlements were created for 223 licences for fishing in area IVa. Only holders of entitlements were thereafter permitted access to the area IVa fishery.

In 2012, area IVb Handline Mackerel Entitlements were created for 103 licences and 'dual' IVab entitlements for created for 35 other licences, where they had a track record of fishing in both sea areas.
Access to the western mackerel fishery has never been restricted.

Quota to cover fishing in IVb was acquired through swaps with Producer Organisations rather than through allocations. Simultaneously, a small number of unused mackerel entitlements were extinguished where the owner had not landed mackerel in any of the preceding three years.

In 2013, there was a consultation on the amount of mackerel quota that could be allocated for inshore fishing. This consultation also considered whether the mackerel entitlements should be abolished so as to provide open access to the fishery.

As a result of the consultation, in 2014 the allocation for the NS stock was increased up to a maximum of 1,000 tonnes (of which 300 tonnes could be accessed in IVb). The allocation for the western mackerel stocks was increased by 300 tonnes.
NS mackerel is currently allocated to four management pools as follows: Moray Firth, IVb, Orkney and Shetland.
At the same time, the handline mackerel entitlements in area IV were made defunct and access was opened to all holders of Scottish, non-sector, 10mu licences.


Email: Ross Parker

Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road

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