Fish processor Young’s Seafood has announced that it will terminate its sourcing of pelagic fish from the north-east Atlantic if coastal states do not reach a suitable agreement on managing its stocks.

For the last ten years, sustainability has been an issue for fishing in the north-east Atlantic. States fishing within the area have been unable to agree quotas in line with sustainable limits set by the scientific community.

Declines in mackerel, herring and blue whiting have been recorded in recent years. The latest data suggests that, since 2015, catches have surpassed sustainable limits by 4.8 million tonnes.

Young’s said in a statement issued through the North Atlantic Pelagic Advocacy Group (NAPA) that the company views “the unilateral setting of quotas” as “an unacceptable threat to shared-stock fisheries.”

The statement continued: “The coastal states involved in these fisheries should support securing an agreement on total allowable catches in line with ICES [International Council for the Exploration of the Sea] advice and strive for a long-term science-based management agreement.”

The seafood processor is part of the North Atlantic Pelagic Advocacy Group (NAPA), which is aims to secure an agreement on lower catch limits and implement a fishery improvement project (FIP) covering mackerel and herring. NAPA consists of nearly 50 retailers and seafood companies, including Tesco, Waitrose and Sainsbury’s.