South Georgia's Director of Fisheries said this week that the island's toothfish season had run smoothly despite some early reluctance by a small number of fishing companies to have catches inspected.
Acting Commissioner for South Georgia Miss Harriet Hall said the season has gone well: "People I have spoken to have expressed satisfaction."
In order to monitor toothfish catches in South Georgia waters more effectively, the government introduced inspections of catch landed or transshipped either in Stanley or South Georgia.
The measure irritated Dick Sawle of Polar Ltd, who in early July commented that it was, "...inefficient, expensive and illogical..."
However Miss Hall said the inspections had gone smoothly: "Most people came into Stanley at the end of the season to have their catches weighed. "There were some mid-season transhipments in South Georgia and here and it all seems to have gone very smoothly." She added, "A lot of work was put into it by the people working down at FIPASS - the stevedores, the agents, Neil McKay's crew - and we're very grateful for all the help they gave us."
In July, the Spanish longliner Ibsa Quinto had nineteen tonnes of toothfish confiscated after an inspection revealed she had exceeded her licence limit.
Miss Hall said this did not happen again: "...the other vessels have all been within reasonable variation of their quota."
The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLAR) closed South Georgia's toothfish season ten days early, not due to a lack of fish but as the total allowable catch for that region was met before the official end of the season.
Miss Hall commented, "CCAMLAR's area that South Georgia comes under reached its total allowable catch on August 21, so the fishery closed on that day.. "There was only one licenced vessel left fishing by then - we didn't have to pull any vessels out of the area." (PN).