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Falklands celebrates 20 years of financial autonomy

Tuesday, January 30th 2007 - 20:00 UTC
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The Falkland Islands is celebrating the twentieth anniversary of the introduction of the Fisheries Conservation Zone with a special commemorative stamp issue and the release of an allusive coin.

In February 1987 a Fisheries Conservation Zone was introduced around the Falkland Islands in response to concerns about uncontrolled fishing in the South Atlantic. The introduction of this managed fishery enabled fishing licence fees to be levied, radically transforming the economic fortunes of the Falkland Islands. Before the Conservation Zone was introduced the annual revenue collected by the Government was around £5 million. By 1989 this had risen considerably to £29 million. A total of £420 million has been raised from fishing license fees in the first 20 years. The Falklands' fishery is modest in size in world terms. However its distinctive feature is that it is primarily based on squid which accounts for around 75% of catches. In a typical year approximately 200,000 tonnes of squid are supplied to world markets making the Falklands a significant player in the global squid trade. There are two species of squid in the fishery: Illex argentinuswhich is the biggest in terms of volume, value and also size of the squid. Typical annual catches are around 150,000 tonnes with much of the catch destined for the Far East although significant amounts also go to Europe; Loligo gahiare caught by large stern trawlers almost all of which are registered in the Falklands. The Squid is frozen on board and produce a delicious product. In addition the Falkland Islands waters are also an important producer of various finned fish species including Blue Whiting, Hoki and Hake. To celebrate the Falklands Fisheries success the Post Office has released a commemorative stamp issue of six values. The different stamp values ranging from 3p to £ 1.05 provide a glimpse of the Falklands fishing industry in the South Atlantic which is renowned for its severe weather. 3p A busy day at sea for both the fishermen and the Falkland Islands Protection Vessel, Dorada,which can be seen in the background. 11p Work aboard continues well into the night, if not all night. 25p Fishermen ending their shift after a long day at sea. 30p A Japanese Jigger is shown in Stanley Harbour where licenses are collected prior to fishing within the conservation zone. The Japanese Jigger would target the Illex, the larger of the squid, which are extremely popular in the Far East. The Jiggers work at night using high powered lights to attract the squid to the surface. 60p The Fishery Protection Vessel Doradais shown patrolling the Conservation Zone. £1.05 The smaller vessel in the foreground is a Loligotrawler trans-shipping its processed and boxed catch to the larger reefer, a freezer container ship. A reefer collects the catches from entire fleets allowing the fishing vessels to continue to fish rather than having to return to their home ports around the world. The special commemorative coin is to be produced by Pobjoy Mint Ltd., and carries the a scene of Jiggers in Stanley Harbour, collecting their fishing licenses prior to the start of the fishing season in February.

Categories: Fisheries, Falkland Islands.

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