The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) has downgraded mackerel, warning consumers it should no longer be appearing regularly on their dinner plate.
The oily fish has been removed from the MCS’ Fish to Eat list and is now rated by the charity as a fish to eat only occasionally.
Explaining the reason for the change, MCS said overfishing of the stock and the subsequent suspension of the north east Atlantic stock’s Marine Stewardship Council certification, means it is no longer considered a sustainable fishery.
“The stock has moved into Icelandic and Faroese waters, probably following their prey of small fish, crustaceans and squid. As a result both countries have begun to fish more mackerel than was previously agreed,” said MCS fisheries officer Bernadette Clarke, in a press release.
“The total catch is now far in excess of what has been scientifically recommended and previously agreed upon by all participating countries. Negotiations to introduce new catch allowances have so far failed to reach agreement.”
MCS added good alternatives to mackerel are herring and sardine of which both are on the charity’s Fish to Eat List.
“If people want to continue eating mackerel they should ensure they buy it from as sustainable a source as possible. That means fish caught locally using traditional methods - including handlines, ringnets and drift nets - or from suppliers who are signatories to the principles of the Mackerel Industry Northern Sustainability Alliance,” Clarke said.
Gurnard has also been downgraded from the list.