The United Kingdom’s largest seafood processor, Young’s Seafood, is threatening to stop sourcing fish from Northeast Atlantic pelagic fisheries should coastal states not reach a suitable agreement on managing the stocks later this month.
Issuing a sourcing statement via the North Atlantic Pelagic Advocacy Group (NAPA), Young’s said ongoing disputes over the species mean its business will ultimately cease to purchase from the fisheries.
Ongoing disagreements over catch quotas between the coastal states in the region -- EU, UK, Iceland, Norway, Faroes, Greenland and Russia -- have been driving businesses to speak up about the consequences.
Already, several major companies have committed to stop sourcing from the disputed pelagic fisheries, including smoked salmon giant Labeyrie and Nutreco-owned aquaculture feed giant Skretting.
Like the others, Young's noted that the failure to harvest under the guidance of the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES) is a red-line for the company.
“[T]he unfortunate consequence of this situation remaining unresolved and total catches continuing to be in excess of the ICES advice is that Young’s would cease sourcing from these fisheries," the company stated.
NAPA is spearheading a Fishery Improvement Program (FIP) with a goal of having certification-ready pelagic fisheries within three years.
The Northeast Atlantic mackerel and Atlanto-Scandian herring fisheries are already data-rich, well-understood and have proposed management strategies published.
If NAPA's efforts fail to reach the agreed FIP action plan aims, Young’s said it will review its sourcing decision and “take actions that we deem to be appropriate at the time.”
NAPA is using its global influence and €244 billion ($284.6 billion) in pelagics purchasing power to call on the coastal states to put aside their national interests and commit to sustainable management measures, such as following scientific advice, adopting long-term management plans, and employing dispute resolution mechanisms.