The Argentine Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Food (SAGP&A) authorised a TAC of 270,000 tonnes of hake (Merluccius hubbsi) for this year -- a 20.5 per cent or 70,000 tonne cut compared to the quota fixed for 2007, which amounted to 340,000 tonnes.
According to Resolution 65/07 published 31 December in the Official Bulletin, the resource's vulnerable biological status brought about the reduced catch quota for the species. Of the total TAC, 207,000 tonnes are to be caught south of parallel 41Ãâ€šÃ‚Âº South, and the remaining 63,000 tonnes from the northern stock. The new resolution introduces a new distribution system for catch quotas effective between 1 January this year and 31 December, 2012. Furthermore, quotas will be related to a percentage of the TAC and not to a previously fixed tonnage, as was stipulated until last year. The goal is to establish conditions that would allow for an improved planning of all activities within a foreseeable mid-run framework, the SAGP&A indicated. Freezer vessels are still banned from operating north of parallel 41Ãâ€šÃ‚Âº South and can only target waters south of parallel 49Ãâ€šÃ‚Âº South for the duration of the Resolution. For the next five years, fresh fish vessels must remain at port for a 50-day period, which may be divided into a maximum of five 10-day periods, excluding the last seven days of each year. Freezer vessels will have to withhold operations 75 days a year, and may also divide this period into five periods that must take place before 24 December of each year. Regarding catch quotas per province for 2008, the National Government assigned to Buenos Aires on a "precarious basis" 2.8 per cent of the total, which this year amounts to 7,702.9 tonnes, that provincial authorities can distribute among fishing vessels in order to "moderate socio-economic effects that could arise." In terms of these provincial quotas, Chubut will receive 0.44 per cent (1,191.2 tonnes) and 2.68 per cent (7,226 tonnes for vessels less than 21 metres long operating in Rawson); for Santa Cruz, 1.73 per cent (4,685.3 tonnes); and for Rio Negro, 0.44 per cent (1,191.2 tonnes). The SAGP&A reported that between 1 January and 26 December, the hake harvest north of parallel 41Ãâ€šÃ‚Âº South amounted to 23,352.9 tonnes, while south of the mentioned parallel 266,676.8 tonnes of hake were caught. These figures are significantly lower than the catches reported in 2006 -- between 1 January and 31 December of that year, 27,541.2 tonnes of hake were caught north of parallel 41Ãâ€šÃ‚Âº South and 321,008.9 tonnes in the south. (FIS)