HALIFAX -- An environmental group says it's disappointed the federal Fisheries department has set the quota for Atlantic mackerel at levels that are far higher than recommended by a science body.

The total allowable catch in the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization areas three and four was set at 8,000 tonnes, despite stock assessments that recommend annual catches not greater than 800 tonnes.

That is the same quota and recommended catch level as last year.

A Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat report in 2014 described a critically low biomass of the stock, despite significant quota reductions over the years, and advised the catch of 800 tonnes for 2014 and 2015.

The Ecology Action Centre in Halifax says the mackerel stock continues to be overfished and has a large unregulated recreational fishery.

The group says the quota should be set according to scientific advice and that the fishery be managed using a precautionary approach.