Mackerel Improvement Profile

Mackerel accounts for just a small fraction of the volume produced by the world’s reduction fisheries. The vast majority of production of mackerel and other small pelagics has not yet been assessed. Our improvement efforts prioritize mackerel fisheries that are:

  • Red-rated by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Program (see all mackerel ratings here); or
  • Within the scope of Sustainable Fisheries Partnership’s Target 75 Initiative

A baseline step businesses can take to accelerate progress in improving performance is to prioritize the purchase of certified or Best Choice mackerel and encourage suppliers to pursue improvements. The collaboration is focused on improving the performance of mackerel fisheries by building on promising NGO and industry initiatives.

Seafood Watch

The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Program ratings are based on specific location and production method information. For detailed information, visit the Seafood Watch recommendations on mackerel, as well as other small pelagics likeanchovy and sardine.

Sustainable Fisheries Partnership

SFP’s “T75” initiative is focused on ensuring that at least 75% of world production in key sectors is sustainable (i.e., certified by the MSC program, or green-listed in SFP’s Metrics tool) or making regular, verifiable improvements. For wild production:

  • Certified by one of the following programs: IFFO RS, ASMI RFM, Iceland Responsible Fisheries, Fair Trade USA
  • Or under full assessment in the MSC program
  • Or in a FIP that is making good progress (i.e., a FIP with either with a progress rating of A, B, or C using SFP’s FIP evaluation tool, or formed in the past 12 months and not yet rated)

Only a few mackerel species fall within the Target scope, namely those that are mostly used for reduction purposes (e.g., Chilean jack mackerel). SFP has developed a visual display of T75 progress for each of the key seafood sectors, including reduction fisheries. Please check the latest estimates here.

To learn more, visit the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership’s Target 75 Reduction Fisheries Sector Report and its Reduction Fisheries Supply Chain Roundtable. For detailed information, contact


There are several active small pelagics FIPs worldwide, providing considerable opportunities to contribute to sustainability improvements. To learn more about specific FIPs, consult the FIP directory or the Improvement projects page of FishSource.