THE loligo season has commenced with modest catches, Director of Fisheries, John Barton said when reporting to the Fisheries Committee last week.
He said that the second loligo season has commenced with modest catches and that the Loligo was, "...fairly well distributed," throughout the area this year. Hake is also widespread in the zone; however the fleet continues to experience on-going by-catch problems. A number of scientists from the Fisheries Department will travel to Imperial College in September as the department continues to takeover more of the scientific work, said Mr Barton. A paper which considers introducing the Automatic Identification System (AIS) as a licence conditionin Falkland Island waters was also discussed at the meeting. One of the main advantages of the AIS system is its benefit during search and rescue, it allows the target vessel to be easily identified and therefore could save valuable time in an emergency situation. Sustainability measures in the fishery were also discussed and it was agreed that up to 15% of the TAC (Total Allowable Catch) for toothfish may be carried forward to the following year or brought forward from the next year. "This adjustment is only permitted from one year to the next and cannot accumulate," said Mr Barton. It will be reviewed yearly and any revision of the overall TAC could override the adjustments. (PN)