The squid fishing season in the South Atlantic, operating with Argentine licenses, has started with good prospects and a moderate optimism of the sector. During the first week jiggers reported daily average catches that oscillated between 28 and 35 tons, according to Pescare, an Argentine fish industry publication. .
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.
Argentina reports poor results from the current Illex squid season and does not discard an anticipated closure if catches fail to recover. The president of the Argentine Chamber of Jigger Fishing Shipowners (CAPA), Juan Redini confirmed to the portal Pescare that only five to six vessels remain operational between parallels 40° and 42°, but with erratic course and catches.
Falkland Islands' Illex squid catches are still very sparse, now standing at 2,373 tons, “which is obviously very low and does not go far when spread across the 105 vessels in the fishery,” said Director of Natural Resources John Barton, interviewed by Penguin News.
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 Falkland Islands government reacted strongly to statements by the Argentine official in charge of Malvinas affairs who claimed that the theft of squid and other valuable fish stocks in the South Atlantic, was the reason behind the success of the Islands' economy, according to a report from the Express.co.uk.
Measured by GDP, fishing is the most important industry in the Falkland Islands and in 2012 contributed 34% to GDP, according to the State of the Falklands Economy report from the FIG Policy Unit.
Argentina's fish industry exported 493,244 tons last year totaling nearly 1.6 billion dollars. Although volume decreased 2.7% compared to 2013 (504,165 tons), revenue increased 6.6%, according to the latest report from the National Under-secretariat of Fisheries and Aquaculture.
One hundred and five jiggers and one trawler have been offered Falkland Islands Illex squid licenses for the coming season which opens on February 15. The total number of licences offered matches those taken up in 2014, confirmed Director of Natural Resources John Barton at the Islands Fisheries Committee Meeting.
The Chamber of Jigger Owners from Argentina (CAPA) has requested the Federal Fisheries Council (CFP) the anticipated start of the squid (Illex argentinus) season in 2015.