Mackerel boom along the Norwegian coast

MackerelMackerel.Photo: Heiko Junge / SCANPIX .

Mackerel boom along the Norwegian coast

In just ten years, the stock of Norwegian mackerel has doubled from two to four million tonnes. ‘The development has been amazing,’ said the Institute of Marine Research.


As the stock increases, the feeding area has expanded to three or four times the size,’ said Leif Nøttestad, chief executive of the Marine Research Institute to NRK news.

Researchers are carefully following the development, and trying to find answers as to what it may mean for other species, according to the news channel.

Nøttestad is currently with an international research team, aboard five ships from Norway, Iceland, Greenland and the Faroe Islands. The goal is to estimate the size of the stocks, so that marine scientists can provide reliable advice on how much fishing is sustainable.

There is great competition for the food in the sea, and with so many mackerel, it could threaten other species.

In the middle of the food chain

To the guppy, the mackerel is an enemy, to herring, it’s a competitor, but the mackerel is great for whales, cod, pollock and dolphin, which eat it. The mackerel is in the middle of the food chain, and is very important for the ecosystem, said Nøttestad.

Kjell Ingebrigtsen, the chief of Norway’s Fisheries Team, said there may be disadvantages to gaining such a large increase of a specific species, but he’s pleased that the mackerel stock has become as large as it has.

‘The mackerel puts money in the pockets of our fishermen, and the fisheries industry on land. We hope, and believe it will remain a big stock in the future too. It matters to many people’, he said.


© NTB Scanpix / Norway Today