VESSELS fishing for the squid species Illex argentinus in Falklands waters have been reporting poor catches of around two and five ton per day so far this season, confirmed Falkland Islands Fisheries Scientist Alexander Arkhipkin.
The low catches are a disappointment after the 2010 season when catches returned to a more normal level after a poor season the year before.
Mr Arkhipkin said, “Our analysis of oceanographic situation on the High Sea in January 2011 shows that the Falkland Current is less intensified. It is also shifted offshore and therefore does not create strong hydrological frontal zones between warm shelf waters (16-17C) and cold Sub-Antarctic waters of the Current.
“Illex tends to concentrate near these frontal zones in common years, which is not the case this year so far.”
He said, “Catches of Illex (according to the data from reporting trawlers) are small, varying between two and five ton per day. About half of the catch is composed of small and immature winter-spawning squid, with the rest of larger and mature summer-spawning squid.
“Winter-spawning squid should come later to Falkland Islands zones to feed. Their abundance at the moment seems to be small. However, further migrations of winter-spawning squid on the High Seas in February should tell us more about their total abundance.”
The Falkland Islands Government Fisheries Department has a great deal of research activity planned for next month.
“The new research cruise will be done on Castelo, with the main aim to assess the total abundance of one of the most important commercial stocks - rock cod.
“Another survey will be carried out on Venturer with the main goal to estimate the number of Loligo recruits for the next fishing season that will start on 24 February 2011.”
Altogether, 10 scientists from the Department will participate in both surveys.
By Lisa Watson – SeAledPR - Stanley