Atlantic Mackerel – NAFO Subareas 3 and 4

Dates of season (subject to change)

April to November

Total allowable catches (TACs)

Commercial TAC of 8,000 tonnes for 2020.

Management measures

A Canadian total allowable catch of 8,000 tonnes for the competitive commercial fishery in 2020.

A temporary freeze on the issuance of new commercial mackerel licences for fixed and mobile gear will remain in effect. This includes the addition of new gear types to existing commercial licences. Under this measure there are no new commercial licences, however, current commercial licence holders are permitted to transfer licences.

The Department has implemented new reporting requirements to improve monitoring of landings in the commercial and bait mackerel fisheries for fleets in Atlantic Canada and Quebec.

The minimum fish size for commercial mackerel retention remains at 268mm as determined by the last stock assessment.

Single or Multi-year Planning

This decision is for this year (2020) only.

Additional Information

The Department undertook a new stock assessment for Atlantic mackerel in March 2019 and presented the results to the Atlantic Mackerel Advisory Committee (AMAC). Despite the spawning stock biomass increase between 2016 and 2018, the science assessment indicates that the stock remains in the critical zone under DFO’s Precautionary Approach framework.

A Mackerel Rebuilding Plan Working Group has been established. The purpose of the working group is to bring representatives from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), provincial governments, industry stakeholders, aboriginal groups and others with an interest in the fishery together in order to improve the management of Atlantic Mackerel fishery in Atlantic Canada. The Working Group met over the past few years in order to provide guidance to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans on the development of a Rebuilding plan for the Atlantic Mackerel fishery. A Rebuilding Plan document is expected in 2020.

Links to other information

An update of the Integrated Fisheries Management Plan for Atlantic Mackerel is under development.

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