Fish ‘n’ Squids

13 Aug

John Barton, Director of the Falkland Islands Fisheries Department said today that whilst a Falkland Islands jigging company had gone out of business and others are struggling to acquire the funds necessary to pay licence fees, this is countered to some extent by a relatively positive 2011 illex fishing season and “some optimism for the future.”

With nearly 80,000 tons of squid caught this year by 92 Korean and Taiwanese jiggers, the season was buoyant but in itself is not sufficient to make any claims for the future. As a result the Falkland Islands Government had chosen to maintain licence fees at the same level as 2010.

Less good news however was reported by the Department’s Dr Paul Brickle, who blamed Argentina for the loss of the Southern Blue Whiting fishery, “It’s a sad demise to a rather lucrative fishery due to poor management and lack of a regional fisheries management authority.”

Southern Blue Whiting spawns around the Falkland Islands and once sat high on the list of species considered by the South Atlantic Fisheries Commission, the authority within which Argentina and the Falkland Islands were able to share information and allocate the Total Allowable Catch (TAC) with conservation as a guiding principle.

The last TAC was 50,000 tonnes divided between the two countries, but even then Argentina found itself unable to enforce the limit on its fishing industry.

Argentina walked out of this forum in 2005 and has refused to share information or restrict its fishing fleet since then. Scientific evidence now suggests that Argentina’s profligacy has reduced the spawning stock to between 13% and 21%.

As a result, fishing for this species is no longer commercial.

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