Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, Butterfish
Click on an image above to learn more about the biology and life history of that species.
The Council manages the Atlantic mackerel, longfin squid, Illex squid, and butterfish (MSB) fisheries under a single Fishery management Plan (FMP). The management unit includes all U.S. waters off the U.S. East Coast.
There is recreational fishing for Atlantic mackerel (for food and bait), but the majority of harvest is commercial for all four species, with bottom and mid-water trawling accounting for most landings. Commercial landings are used in a variety of food and bait markets, both domestically and for export.
There is substantial uncertainty regarding these species because their distribution and productivity are likely highly dependent on environmental variables. The Council uses annual quotas based on recommendations from the Council's Scientific and Statistical Committee for all four species. These quotas account for both scientific and management uncertainty.
Ecosystem considerations have become a prominent issue for these fisheries. Please see the Council's Ecosystem Plan page for more details.
Note: longfin squid used to have the scientific name Loligo pealeii and are often still referred to as "Loligo."
Actions Under Development
To ensure optimal management and fishery operation, the Council is considering modifications to the Illex permitting system as well as revisions to the goals and objectives for the Mackerel, Squid, Butterfish (MSB) Fishery Management Plan (FMP).
This framework action will present alternatives with the purposes of rebuilding the mackerel stock with associated management measures (including 2019-2021 specifications), as well as setting the river herring/shad (RH/S) cap for the mackerel fishery.
Fishery Management Plan and Amendments
Fishery Performance Reports and Information Documents
Fishery Performance Reports (FPRs) are developed every year by each fishery's advisory panel to provide the Council and SSC with a description of the factors that influenced fishing effort and catch within each of the Council’s fisheries. Fishery Information Documents (FIDs) are annual summaries of the most recent catch, landings, and effort data.