Fifteen fishing companies on Tuesday night became members of the Falkland Islands Fishing Company Association (FIFCA) at their inaugural Annual General Meeting.
The Association's first Chairman, Drew Irvine of Argos group Ltd confirmed Wednesday that the organisation is the first in the Islands that will include all fishing quota holders. The radical overhaul of fishing policy that occurred in the Falklands in September 2005 under the Falklands Conservation Management Ordinance (that introduced a 'long term' system to Falklands' fishery policy) included the creation of the FIFCA. However, it was only on Tuesday night at the first meeting of the Association that a Chairman, a Vice Chairman and three committee members were elected; a set of rules were drawn up and eligible companies were confirmed as members. Mr Irvine said, "This is the first fishing company representative body in the Islands that is truly representative of the whole industry. The 2005 policy overhaul allows companies to have long term rights to fishing quota and this makes it much easier for companies to work together because it moves away from a system where companies have to compete annually for licences." He said the new system takes away the, "ÃÂ¢€Ã‚Â¦lack of trust," caused by the worry each year that one company might be able to take another company's quota away. Before the 2005 policy was introduced each company would apply annually to the Falkland Islands Government. Now, however, a company must apply to purchase quota from another company with long term rights. He summarised saying, "This has shifted competition away from Government policy to the market place." Managing Director of Fortuna Limited, Stuart Wallace, was elected as Vice Chairman, and the three committee members are Managing Director of International Fishing Limited Mike Forrest, Managing Director of the Byron Group, Lewis Clifton and Director of RBC Ltd. Tom Blake. By Lisa Johnston – SeAled PR – Stanley