Waters muddied over issue of local mackerel stock

MACKEREL stocks in local waters are healthy, Guernsey Fishermen’s Association president Dougal Lane has said.

Fisherman John Le Couteur believes mackerel numbers are dwindling. The Marine Conservation Society says the fish is no longer suitable to eat regularly as stocks were not sustainable. (Picture by Adrian Miller, 1296587)
Fisherman John Le Couteur believes mackerel numbers are dwindling. The Marine Conservation Society says the fish is no longer suitable to eat regularly as stocks were not sustainable. (Picture by Adrian Miller, 1296587)

MACKEREL stocks in local waters are healthy, Guernsey Fishermen’s Association president Dougal Lane has said.

The Marine Conservation Society has downgraded the fish, stating it was no longer suitable to eat regularly as stocks were not sustainable.

But Mr Lane said while shoals around Scotland and Iceland were facing over-fishing, he was not aware of any problems in local waters.

‘I would say the mackerel stocks are very good,’ he said.

‘It was down 20 years ago, but it’s come up since then.’

Comments for: "Waters muddied over issue of local mackerel stock"

Captain Fantastic

Can we see the figures on Guernsey mackerel landings that these opinions are based upon. I tend to be a bit concerned about commercial comments that everything is hunky dory.

I would say the size and number of mackerel has decreased around the islands.

markB

I fully agree with you Captain Fantastic.

Over the past 30 years I have seen a huge drop in the amount of fish I catch as a weekend boat Fisherman… Including mackerel. I remember Spider crab in the bay big enough to go round my waist (maybe it’s my waist that's bigger now) …..and you don’t see the crawfish any more.

Plus I used to be able to guarantee a Bass for supper from my special fishing marks … not anymore.

It would be good to have a 5 year fishing ban.

States House

Here, this is from Guernsey Sea fisheries, it only shows up to 2011 but some massive drops in numbers of a fair few species!

http://www.gov.gg/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=78393&p=0

Dougal Lane obviously didnt pay attention at school if a massive drop of 2 tonne from 7.4 in 2010 to 5.4 in 2011 is the Mackerel stocks being "very good".....

I suppose while there are still fish to catch stocks are good to them. Until they fish themselves out of a living then cry that other fishermen are taking "their" fish yet again in the paper.

Nathan

Did Jon catch them while sat in his boat in his garden?

Island Wide Voting

Looks more like a page from one of those free glossy mags no one wants

States House

Makes you laugh, Kevin Stewart calling for youngsters to get in to the fishing industry!

Only a few years ago, the guy who owns and runs crab cabin was in the press in an artical saying he has warned his son about getting in to the fishingimdustry because there is no longer any money in it.

Smells Fishy

Mackerel are a migratory species. If they are over-fished ANYWHERE, it has an effect on stocks elsewhere.

Mr Lane shows a remarkable lack of understanding of that basic fact. How can he say that "local" stocks are healthy? There is no such thing as a "local" stock. Apart from the fact that it is currently the middle of winter and mackerel are a summer specvies round these islands, it has already been remarked on this thread and I will add that my own experience is, that there have been fewer mackerel and mostly "joeys" (juveniles) in recent summers. These are classic early signs of stock collapse.

BINTHERE

It amazes me that the only answer to dwindling stocks, eeryone comes up with, is restricting catches, particularly by non professional fishermen. Yet, it was proved, many years ago, that most, if not all, sea fish can be bred in/onshore and used for replenishment easily and quickly. The big downside, however, is the reluctance of pro fisherman to accept this because they know that really healthy stocks of fish means that prices in the markets go down. That has been proven too! And, of course they woul also have to contribute to the breeding process as well.

I can remember one particular time when all that was needed was a bucket and a piece of rope to catch mackerel. And I remember the kids along the castle walk with their potains every year pulling in spider crabs by the dozen - I bet that doesn't happen anymore. It slowed down very quickly when the professional fisherman started trawling for spider crabs. Ah, but yes, eh? Greed makes the modern world go round!

markB

Hi Binthere ….Good points …

Regarding fish stocks, personally I’d rather leave it to nature ……we’ve made enough of a mess already.

After the war there was a lot of fish, crab, lobster, Ormers, Crawfish even Octopus why?.... because we had 5 years of restricted fishing.

BINTHERE

Your're right there MarkB - though I was thinking of the fifties and sixties. However I don't think nature has much of a chance to recover without a lot of help in these modern times. So many people now have boats and tackle that wasn't invented back in those days. Where I live now they also think that reduced catches and sizes (by the amateur angler mostly) is the answer and each year they reduce the allowable catch even more. It makes no obvious difference - the fish are getting harder and harder to find. This year has been the worst year of all. Bound to happen. You can't continue to catch fish faster than they can breed naturally, and to police a 5 year shut down would be impossible.

States House

They banned comercial fishing for Bass in ireland and the population grew so big that angling for Bass brings in more to the irish economy from visiting anglers than commercial fishing ever did.

http://www.whitbyseaanglers.co.uk/irelands-bass-fishing-under-threat

A visitor goes over to enjoy bass angling and spends his money in the shops, pubs, restaraunts and guest houses etc but now that the species has regrouped there, the greedy commercials want the ban lifted. It would only be a matter of a year or 2 before they are back to square one as we have seen with mackerel stocks from Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall just a year ago starting his fish fight campaign to get people to eat Mackerel and pollack and low and behold a year later we are being told the stocks are too low to keep fishing them.

Ban sonars, fish finders, nets and long lines and only allow rod and line fishing for wet fish. Like someone else has just said, how can the fish keep up when they are being hammered so hard?

BINTHERE

Many years ago a bloke named Tostevin (I think) started breeding ormers for sale and in more recent years he sold seeds for anyone to seed their favourite ormering spots. Ormers were started into the denuding process a long time back by divers who often fished for them outside the official tide times and dates. However, not very long after reseeding with Tostevins ormers, they soon became plentiful around Guernsey once more. Breeding fish has become popular around the world but no-one, it seems, wants to release any into the sea. When queried they give many excuses why not but none of them are valid. Some of the finest Atlantic salmon in the world come from Tasmania where some have been released accidentally or on purpose, I don't know, into the sea. Their orginal Atlantic salmon were shipped from Britain I believe.