The chief executive of the Killybegs Fishermen’s Organisation (KFO), Seán O’Donoghue, has welcomed a report which has vindicated the position taken by the KFO regarding mackerel stocks and the sustainability of the fishery.
The report, published by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), constitutes a thorough re-evaluation of mackerel information particularly the mackerel tagging information.
Commenting on the recent publication of the new ICES mackerel inter-benchmark report, Mr O’Donoghue stated: ‘The new information which has come to light shows a major change in the perception of the stock and proves the KFO’s comments when ICES advised a massive 68% cut last year, were wholly accurate and fully justified.
It now transpires that the stock size is much larger than ICES advised in September of last year. We are now dealing with 4.16million tonnes of a stock size as opposed to 2.35million tonnes, as ICES had informed us last autumn.
‘In December last, I highlighted that the ICES advice stated this fishery had been declining since 2011, which was totally contrary to the entire fishing industry view.
‘The new report shows a completely different picture with the mackerel stock continuing to increase in size until 2015 and still at a very high level well above the reference points.’
Mr O’Donoghue added: ‘I said unequivocally that I was very concerned that ICES didn’t have a fit-for-purpose quality assurance system in place and called for the issue to be addressed. This new information is a thorough vindication of our position and, while overdue, I am glad to say significant progress has been made on the quality assurance issue but there is still a long way to go.’
He concluded that the next crucial step is that ICES issues revised 2019 mackerel advice as a matter of urgency in light of this major upwards revision in the data.