The South Atlantic Fisheries Commission met last week in Buenos Aires and recommended a precautionary approach to the coming Illex squid stock since the level of spawning mass at the end of the 2004 season was the lowest observed.
The Argentine delegation was led by Ambassador Santos Goñi, head of the Falklands and South Atlantic Department in the Foreign Ministry and the British delegation by the head of the Overseas Territories Department, Mr Tony Crombie.
Both delegations reaffirmed the importance they attach to ensuring the sustainability of fish stocks and reiterated the commitment of both Governments to conserving fish and squid stocks in the South Atlantic, recommending that both continue further scientific research in order to achieve a greater understanding of the most significant offshore species in the area.
The scientific sub-committee has raised serious concerns about the status of the Illex stock, particularly that recruitment and catches this year were the lowest on record.
The Scientific sub-committee also reported that the level of spawning biomass of Illex remaining at the end of the 2004 season was the lowest observed underlining that they also noted that prevailing oceanographic conditions appeared to be unfavourable for recruitment.
With those things in mind, the Sub-commission agreed to recommend that both governments take a precautionary approach to ensure the species conservation.
They also endorsed the recommendations of the SSC that the subsequent escapement target for an enhanced Early Warning System should be ninety to ninety-five thousand tonnes of spawning stock biomass present in the fishery during the last week of April, a mid-point of the period of maximum reproduction.
The Sub-commission also recommended that a joint survey to assess recruitment of the stock should take place in February.
Both delegations talked about practical measures needed to stop poachers and agreed to carry on enhancing efforts aimed at achieving that in a co-ordinated way.
As has been the case the meeting took place under the sovereignty umbrella clause.(FIBS)