Argentina Federal Fishery Council (CFP) decided to preventively set a total allowable catch (TAC) of 2,500 tonnes for Patagonian toothfish (Dissostichus eleginoides) this year.
During the meeting held last week, the CFP members agreed to distribute 70 per cent of the TAC, or 1,750 tonnes, among a group of eligible fishing vessels.
First, the vessels have to produce proof of a historical catch of Patagonian toothfish of more than 1 per cent over the total catches of the species. Moreover, in any of the fishing trips between 2003 and 2004, they must have caught more than 3 per cent of the Patagonian toothfish over the total catch.
The remaining 30 per cent of the TAC, or 750 tonnes, has been saved for by-catch, which is subjected to the current rule on the species fisheries.
To distribute the catches quotas among the eligible vessels, their proportional participation on the total catches between 1989 and 1996 was considered.
No company or business group could exceed 35 per cent of the TAC of Patagonian toothfish, according to the Federal Fishing Law.
In the event the percentage is exceeded, authorities will reduce the excess amount proportionally to each vessel or business group, which in turn will become part of the management reserve.
The minutes of the CFP meeting indicate that after the near 5 per cent reduction on the Estremar SA Group (due to the fact that it exceeded the 35 per cent TAC cap), the total distributed among eight vessels owned by four companies is 1,616.6 tonnes.
The 133.4 tonnes surplus goes to the management reserve.
The Patagonian toothfish landings in January 2006 totalled 2.9 tonnes, an insignificant volume compared to December 2005, which registered 81.2 tonnes, or January 2005, with 119.3 tonnes. (FIS)