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Dismal Ilex Season in Falklands; All Jiggers Leave Zone

Friday, May 8th 2009 - 11:03 UTC
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Keith Alazia and Riff work together. Picture Mandy Ford Keith Alazia and Riff work together. Picture Mandy Ford

Weekly Penguin News Update. Headlines: Fun trials create new challenges; Dismal Ilex season; Firearm stolen from vehicle at Goose Green; BFBS 3 will be available to Falkland’s viewer; Swine flu pandemic is less likely.

Dismal Ilex season in Falklands; all jiggers leave zone

THE Ilex season in Falkland Islands zones has been “dismal,” says the Director of Fisheries, John Barton.

Total catches of the squid which traditionally was the backbone of government revenue, but in more recent years has become the most volatile of all the fisheries, have been around 43 metric tonnes, of which only three tonnes has been taken by jiggers.

The Ilex season started on February 15 and was scheduled to finish on June 15, but the fishing boats have now left for more lucrative waters.

At the moment there are no licensed vessels fishing for Ilex in Falklands waters, although there are 19 licensed to do so.

This time last year 44 vessels had obtained licences and 42 were fishing in the zone, with a total of 74,120 tonnes of Ilex already caught.

Vessels have now left the Southwest Atlantic and are headed to an alternative squid fishery in the Pacific, said Mr Barton, adding that the reasons are likely to be down to some oceanographic or environmental aspect which has discouraged the Ilex from following their normal migration.

In addition to the climatic problems, he said, it seemed likely that the abundance of Illex this season is relatively low.

Whether or not licence fees will have to be refunded is an issue that will now have to be considered by Executive Council.

In 2004 the previous year’s income from the Ilex fishery was reduced by some £10 million when unusual weather conditions were blamed for the poor catches and more than £2 million in licence fee refunds were made. However, even in that year catches were in the first month around the 40 tonne mark. On average in previous years 20,000 tonnes would have been expected in the first few weeks of the season.

Mr Barton said that while the situation is indeed rather gloomy, Ilex do have the potential to bounce back in the future.

“Another potential positive would be if the low catches of 2009 encouraged all parties involved in the Ilex fishery to progress a regional conservation arrangement which would improve the conservation status of Ilex,” he said, adding that this would be good for the Southwest Atlantic ecosystem and could be equally good for fishing companies.

Fun trials create new challenges

A RELATIVELY new take on the more formal style of demonstrating dog handling skills, the fun trials at Goose Green on the weekend provided new tasks and greater challenges than ever before.

Eleven dogs were put through their paces against the clock on a course that included a steep valley with a fast running stream, a narrow bridge, a series of gates and finally, a test for both man and dog on the drafting race.

Of the 11 dogs entered, Gilberto Castro and Puma scored top points with Hew Grierson and Sophie in second place. Stephen Dickson and Towser were third, closely followed by Keith Alazia and Tiff .

Firearm stolen from vehicle at Goose Green

THE Royal Falkland Islands Police are appealing for information in relation to the theft of a firearm, from a vehicle at Goose Green during the two-nighter at the weekend.

Two-nighters are a Falkands social tradition, where people of all ages gather at one settlement for various day time entertainments, with dancing in the evenings. On this occasion the Darwin Harbour Sports Association sweep draw and fun dog trials were held.

Several people attending the event said that they had become aware there was concern in the settlement in the early hours of Saturday morning, which a firearm had gone missing from Stanley resident, Daniel Ford’s vehicle.

The firearm, believed to be a sawn off shotgun, although the police were unable to confirm this, had still not been located at the time of going to print.

Goose Green farm manager Keith Alazia, said it was an unfortunate incident to happen at a social event and urged future visitors to ensure that they removed any firearms from their vehicles.

Inspector Len McGill said the police are deeply concerned that there is a firearm being held by an unknown person and urged the community to come forward with any information, no matter how insignificant it may seem, that could lead to the speedy recovery of the gun.

BFBS 3 will be available to Falkland’s viewer

CHILDREN will not be missing out under the new contract with BFBS television, Councillor Mike Rendell has confirmed.

BFBS can supply as much or as little children’s television as the government want under the new contract which is still under negotiation, he told Penguin News yesterday.

BFBS recently announced the removal of children’s programmes from BFBS1 to a dedicated children’s channel, BFBS 3.

The new channel, which has more children’s programmes than those currently carried on BFBS 1, will be available to Falklands viewers, however what programmes will be included is still to be decided, subject to copyright being checked, said Cllr Rendell.

Tender documents for the supply and installation of TV dishes and ancillary equipment at homes in Camp are now available from the Secretariat and with this process underway the project should now move ahead fairly quickly, said Cllr Rendell.

As a pure estimate he said however that it would be at least four months before the additional channels were available to Falkland’s viewers.

Swine flu pandemic is less likely

CHIEF Medical Officer Dr Roger Diggle has reported that the swine flu virus which originated in Mexico and swiftly spread to many other countries, appears to have already peaked, which means a pandemic was growing less likely.

There will be sporadic cases for the next month or so, Dr Diggle said, and it is still possible that the flu may reach the Falklands. However, he added, “swine flu appears to be less severe than normal seasonal flu,” at this time.

Source: Penguin News

Categories: Politics, Falkland Islands.

Top Comments

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  • RF smith

    Re the Ilex fishing season: I hope that the stocks are indeed still strong, but one has to seriously question whether the quotas allowed, year to year, are just simply way too much for the Ilex to bear; I'd bet they are. Maybe the scarcity this year owes to other factors unrelated to human activity, but I think there is always a tendency to take quantities that cut right to the very edge, and probably, more often exceed any given resource's sustainability!

    Cut back by at least a third on the Ilex quotas and keep it at that level (or lower if conditions persist) for the next ten years...even in the “apparent” face of abundance in any future years. Dont lose sight of the fact that the size of the Ilex resource is always just an educated guess; you dont want to let greed wipe out the local fishery as it did Cod fishing on the Grand Banks. Let prudence prevail.

    May 08th, 2009 - 09:23 pm 0
  • Luis

    well some legislative members have economic interests in the fishing companies, may be they could set aside their greed for the sake of the rest of them.

    May 09th, 2009 - 01:03 am 0
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