Fishing on the high seas (*) can present a serious problem for fisheries management, but the Falkland Islands Senior Fisheries Scientist Alexander (Sasha) Arkhipkin has been making a heavy contribution to international collaborations to attempt to deal with some of that impact.
The Falkland Islands second Loligo squid season has taken with very good catches, but good catches also means abundance of the cephalopodus, and... of those sea mammals that feed on them. Because of this a temporary exclusion zone around Beauchene Island was put in place on Thursday making this productive area for Loligo squid out of bounds to fishing vessels.
Around 360 Falklands residents visited the floating dock FIPASS on Saturday 25th February as part of Fish Day – celebrating 30 years of the Falkland Islands Fishery. The Falkland Islands Fishing Association (FIFCA) Executive Secretary Jackie Cotter told Penguin News the day went very well and its aim, as well as celebrating the anniversary, was to give a general overview both of the fishery and the Falklands Government Fisheries Department.
Three decades ago, on 29 October 1986 a Proclamation declaring the Interim Falklands Conservation and Management Zone was signed by then Governor Jewkes, which helped to transform the Islands economy. The anniversary has been marked by several events, and this week was the turn for a scientific approach on how and why the waters around the Falklands are so rich in marine life.
Falkland Islands authorities have confirmed that Illex squid capture has been particularly low this fishing season, a situation that could lead the Islands government to reimburse part of the license fees paid to catch cephalopods.
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.
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).
THIS year will be marked as one of the most successful years in the history of the Falkland Islands fishery with several record catches registered and the total catch of all species in Falkland waters this month reaching a record of 451,000 tonnes.
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