Good news from ICES on North Sea herring stocks

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The responsible fishing practices of Scotland’s pelagic fishermen has been underlined by the latest scientific evidence on North Sea herring.

The International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES) has confirmed that the stock continues to be harvested in a sustainable way with fishing pressure below the recommended level.

ICES states that North Sea herring stock abundance has continued to grow in the last few years but now seems to be levelling off - although still above all precautionary limits.

Ian Gatt, chief executive of the Scottish Pelagic Fishermen’s Association, said: “The Scottish pelagic sector through their sustainability group are in the final stages of Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) re-certification for this stock having completed a full five-year term in the programme.

“So this latest advice from ICES is welcome given our continued significant investment in MSC accreditation.”

Last year almost 40,000 tonnes of North Sea herring were landed by Scottish boats making it the second most valuable fishery for the fleet and this new ICES advice will ensure there is a continued supply of herring to both markets in the UK and Europe during 2014.

The Food Standards Agency recommends that everyone should eat at least two portions of fish a week, including one portion of oily fish such as herring. The latest North Sea herring advice from ICES can be viewed at www.ices.dk/sites/pub/Publication%20Reports/Advice/2013/2013/her-47d3.pdf