A vast fleet of fishing vessels assembling to catch Illex squid on the high seas, some 400 miles north of the Falkland Islands, is an issue of concern to the Falkland Islands Fisheries Department.
The Loligo squid season took off this weekend in the Falkland Islands and the Galician partners of local companies are hopeful that they can repeat catches of the last season when some 46.000 tons were landed. The experimental sampling previous to the official launching points to stability, according to Javier Touza president of ARVI, the Vigo cooperative of vessel owners.
Early indications from scientific surveys are showing “no big concentrations of Illex,” in the Falkland Islands waters or on the high seas, “which is worrying,” said Falkland Islands Government Senior Fisheries Scientist Sasha Arkhipkin as reported by the Penguin News.
Fishing for Illex squid in Falkland’s water took off on Sunday, as the 2016 fishing season opens. A total of 105 fishing licenses have been issued. The number of licenses issued has remained consistent for the past three seasons.
Measures that will sometimes exceed flag state requirements, in order to improve the safety of fisherman working on ships in the Illex fishery in Falklands waters have been agreed by the Falkland Islands Government.
The squid season closed in Argentina with a total landing of 127,216.9 tons of Illex argentinus, representing an annual decline of 23% (38,005.6 tons), according to the latest stats published by the Under secretariat of Fisheries of the Nation. Last year the catch totaled 165.221 tons.
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).
A lack of cooperation from Argentina to share data means that the total Illex fishery for the region is not known and affects the accuracy of seasonal predictions in the Falklands fishery, it was reported at the Fisheries Committee on Thursday.
In the last 25 years, the squid fishery has been one of the major contributors to the economy of the Falkland Islands. It is unique in the world as about 80 per cent of the total annual catch is squid. Both Illex and Loligo squid have annual life cycles, with a new generation recruiting into the fishery every year
The Falkland Islands total allowable effort and catch limits for 2013 will be largely the same as in 2012 it was agreed at the Islands’ Fisheries Committee Meeting this week.