The Falklands fishing industry has encountered the highest Loligo squid catch for 16 years, however, this could negatively affect the price for the industry.
The catch for the year was 70,700 tonnes (for both first and second seasons) although there have been a number of years quite close to that confirmed Director of Fisheries John Barton Chair of the Falkland Islands Fishing Companies Association Cheryl Roberts said: “The
oceanographic conditions have been excellent for the Loligo, plus the amount of plankton available to them has culminated in their abundance.”
Asked how the bumper crop might affect prices she said: “Obviously any market which is suddenly saturated with an excess of stock will suffer an effect on price and this is an issue which obviously concerns the industry greatly and one we are all currently working on.”
Hamish Wylie of Seafish Ltd said catches had also been unusually high on high seas: “This was due to an unusually strong Falkland current that has swept Loligo north of the Falklands zone from inshore earlier in the season.”
Regarding price he added: “Positive as this may appear, the annual market consumption for our Loligo is generally accepted to be in the region of 40 –45,000mt per annum.
“Not accounting for highseas catches, the average for 2010 - 2012 comes in at just over 57,000mt. So the surplus supply, most of it generated this year, is having a negative effect on prices, and we expect prices to fall significantly further this year.”
The average for 2009 to 2011 stood at 44,200mt, and prices up until now were good, protecting the industry to a degree against much higher fuel prices, however, “the fear is that a poor season next year, as is statistically highly likely, coupled with very low market prices will mean that there are probably a couple of difficult years ahead.
That of course is the nature of the industry, so we need to retain reserves from the good years to see us through the lean years,” said Mr Wylie. (PN)