The Falkland Islands are expecting some 105 jiggers to take the Illex licenses, which is a “normal” number for the season while preliminary results anticipate an abundant catch. “The usual” 105 jiggers plus one trawler has accepted the Illex license offers, confirmed earlier in the week Director of Natural Resources Dr Andrea Clausen.
Ms Clausen said government had licensed 90 vessels by the end of last Wednesday, while the remainder of the vessels are due to arrive Thursday and Friday this week and hopefully all will be licensed and fishing by the weekend.
Regarding catches Dr Clausen said the Illex season had, record high catches for this time of the year since at least 2000.
The licensed jigging fleet is working in the northern part of FICZ in the area of the warm water inflow from Argentinean EEZ. In the last two days, average catches of Illex attained 32 tons per vessel, with maximum catches of up to 123 tons per night.
Dr Clausen said it was still very early to say how good the coming fishing season will be, but it is clear that the abundance of South Patagonian stock that migrates here in March is reasonably high this year.
The Fisheries Department is analyzing the data on squid catches and sizes and will produce a further update next week. The illex squid fishing season starts on Feb. 15 and ends on June 15 (Penguin News).