Atlantic mackerel – NAFO subareas 3 and 4 (2022)
Dates of season (subject to change)
Typically from April to November
Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) has closed the Atlantic mackerel commercial and bait fisheries in Atlantic Canada and Quebec to allow the stock to rebuild.
The recreational and food, social and ceremonial fisheries will remain open. DFO will monitor these fisheries throughout the season to ensure that removals do not undermine the goal of rebuilding Atlantic mackerel.
The results of the 2021 Atlantic mackerel stock assessment indicate the Atlantic mackerel stock has declined further into the critical zone. The scientific analyses indicate that the Atlantic mackerel stock is overfished, the age structure has collapsed, and fishing mortality is a significant influence on stock status. This closure in a necessary step to rebuild the stock.
Atlantic mackerel is an important forage species and plays a critical role in the marine ecosystem. It occupies central positions in aquatic food webs and variations in abundance can affect both predators and prey.
On May 26, 2021, regulatory amendments to the Atlantic Fisheries Regulations, 1985 came into force. These amendments will:
- close Atlantic mackerel recreational fishing every year from January 1 to March 31;
- set a daily limit of 20 Atlantic mackerel per person when fishing recreationally;
- increase the minimum size for possession to 26.8 cm for both commercial and recreational fishing to help protect juvenile fish; and,
- set a limit of 5 fishing lines with a maximum of 6 hooks per line.
DFO published the Atlantic Mackerel Rebuilding Plan in 2020 with a short-term objective of maintaining a positive growth in spawning stock biomass. Based on the most recent science, this objective is not being met. An update for the Rebuilding Plan is under development.
DFO is committed to supporting the future opening of the Atlantic mackerel commercial and bait fisheries. Next steps for these fisheries will be considered following the Atlantic mackerel stock assessment in 2023.
Links to other information
An update of the Integrated Fisheries Management Plan for Atlantic Mackerel is under development.
Canada Gazette, Part 2, Volume 155, Number 11: Regulations Amending the Atlantic Fishery Regulations, 1985
- Date modified: