We are being advised to eat less mackerel, which is a healthy oily fish that lives close to the surface of the ocean. Mackerel shoals have moved to the North West in the last eight years, into areas of the sea fished by Iceland and the Faroe Islands. These nations do not have any treaty limitations on mackerel catches so over fishing is taking place and mackerel are becoming scarcer. Apparently it is an awfully difficult job for Iceland and the Faros to limit catches of fish which are becoming endangered – they have been working on this problem for years while, of course the fish is being caught and sold without limitation.
The Marine Conservation Society advises that we eat mackerel rarely, but that we do not need to avoid eating it.
The puzzle is of course, why are mackerel shoals moving North West in such a relatively short period of time. All animals move if their environment changes and as they move they try to adapt to the changing environment. If they fail to adapt quickly enough, they become extinct.
It is probably quite reasonable to assume that mackerel are moving North West because the waters they traditionally enjoy are becoming a little too warm for them. They seem to thrive best in seas which have a Spring temperature of between 11 and 14 Celsius, so perhaps the seas to the North West of the British Isles are warming due to climate change, which would also make sense of the lessening amounts of summer Arctic sea ice.
If we do not limit mackerel fishing we may not be able to “hev a mackerel when the boat comes in”
Filed under: climate change, global warming | Tagged: arctic sea ice, catches of fish, climate, environment, Iceland Faroe iSLANDS, mackerel, mackerel fishing, Marine Conservation Society, over fishing, spring temperature, warming oceans, when the boat comes in |