The Argentine jigging fleet captured nearly 150,000 tonnes of squid (Illex argentinus) in South Atlantic waters during the season that took place between 24 January and 31 August this year, according to a technical report issued by the National Institute for Fishing Research and Development (INIDEP).
The final report on the squid fishery in 2014 states that 61 jiggers caught a total of 147,439 tonnes of squid in 270 fishing trips, which were performed in over 5,360 working days, with a daily average catch of 26.1 tonnes.
In the area adjacent to the Argentine Sea more than 253,000 tonnes were caught, and around the Falkland Islands, the capture amounted to 288,000 tonnes of the cephalopod.
Since March, catches in the south of latitude 44° have depended on the south-Patagonian stock (SSP), while to the north, during May and June, catches depended solely on the north-Patagonian stock from Buenos Aires (SBNP) on the outer shelf, Pescare informed.
According to the available data, 81 per cent of catches (118,739 tonnes) were performed in the southern management unit (28.44 tonnes per day; 60 boats).
The remaining 28,701 tonnes of squid have been obtained in the northern management unit since May (19.73 t/day; 52 boats).
On the other hand, national trawlers fished 15,801 tonnes of the cephalopod. Of that total, 62 per cent (9,910 tonnes) was obtained in the south of latitude 44° south, mainly during February (4,239 tonnes).
INIDEP technicians estimate that in the adjacent area, known as 'Mile 201' about 190 foreign ships operated in the south of latitude 44°, between weeks 1 and 26, which together could have caught about 200,000 tonnes.
Meanwhile, north of latitude 44°, between weeks 12 and 31 the presence of up to 59 boats that fished 53,480 tonnes was observed.
The report also notes that the foreign fleet (106 ships) that fished without authorisation around the Falklands Islands obtained 288,957 tonnes of squid.
Moreover, Uruguay reported a catch of 1,356 tonnes of squid between January and August.
INIDEP scientists added that for the SSP, the initial number of specimens in week 1 was 6,631 million specimens (828,952 tonnes); while the escape rate reached at the end of week 26 was estimated at 35.79 per cent.
And in the case of SBNP, the initial number of specimens in week 1 was estimated in 1,106 million specimens (147,332 tonnes), and the escape rate reached at the end of week 31 was 14.55 per cent.
According to the data provided by the Undersecretariat of Fisheries and Aquaculture under the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries (MINAGRI), between 1 January and 9 December, 2014 a total of 167,182.3 tonnes of squid was landed. This figure shows a decrease of 12.7 per cent compared to the catches obtained from the first day of 2013 and 30 November of that year, totalling 191,343.1 tonnes.
Meanwhile, the head scientist of the Department of Fisheries of the Falkland Islands, Dr. Sasha Arkhipkin, reported last week that the Falklands' Illex season ended this year with a total catch of 306,000 tonnes, exceeding by 40,000 tonnes the record set in 1999. (FIS)