The Loligo and Rock cod fisheries have performed well over the first seven months of 2010, although it is too early to predict the overall performance for the year confirmed Falkland Islands Government Director of Natural Resources John Barton.
The first Loligo season was good and the second season has started strongly, bearing out the results of the survey which took place before fishing commenced.
Mr Barton told Mercopress that catches of Loligo currently stand at 38.000 tonnes for the year. Rock cod has been the other strong performer with some 50.000 tons being caught so far this year.
Falkland’s conservation zones used to be noted for catches of Southern Blue Whiting but these have declined over the period in which Rock cod has become the highest volume finfish catch in the zone.
Barton said, “It has reached the point now where the management of some of the finfish fisheries are based on the conservation targets for Rock cod.”
A major survey of the Rock cod resource was successfully undertaken on the Falkland Islands fishing vessel Castelo, earlier in the year.
Mr Barton added, “It has been another poor year for Illex with very low catches in Falklands’ zones. It is also apparent that it was a poor Illex year throughout the Southwest Atlantic with low catches also reported in Argentina and on the high seas.
“The fishing industry has once again being co-existing with oil exploration activities. Some of the exploratory wells, although not all, have been located in deeper water away from regular fishing grounds. The main point of interaction between the two industries is in the use of the FIPASS port facility. Use of the port has increased significantly. The port managers have endeavoured to accommodate all requests which have required flexibility from all parties. Vessel owners and operators have generally secured the port access required and port operations have gone smoothly so far.”
Both squid fisheries (Loligo – first season and Illex) started in late February. The second Loligo season started in mid-July.
The Loligo fishery involved 16 trawlers, most of which were registered in the Falkland Islands
Regarding the ilex fishery this year there was significantly greater interest in licences, with some 70 vessels calling to collect licences. The main fleets involved are from Korea and Taiwan.
By Lisa Watson – SeAledPR - Stanley