The Falkland Islands government, FIG, announced on Monday measures to provide greater stability to the fishing industry by offering holders of Individual Transferable Quotas an optional extension for a 25-year period of their current rights beyond the expiry date of 2031.
”As part of efforts to further strengthen the partnership between government and the sector, and in order to provide fishing companies in the Falkland Islands with greater stability, the Executive Council recently agreed that holders of Individual Transferable Quota (ITQ) fishing rights should be offered new rights for a 25-year period. This gives current holders the option to renew their existing rights beyond the current expiry date of 2031, provided they meet a set of new and improved eligibility conditions.
”These conditions support the future development of the fishing industry in the Falkland Islands. Each ITQ holder will have an individual action plan which sets out how they will contribute to delivering the Fisheries Accord signed by both FIG and FIFCA. The Accord is based on five outcomes: building a sustainably managed and successful seafood sector, ensuring healthy oceans, caring for our environment, protecting our people and caring for the community. The conditions will also require that any joint ventures undertaking fishing operations should be at least 51% Falklands owned (an increase from the current minimum of 25.1%).
Existing ITQ rights will expire in 2031 and any holder that chooses not to apply for the new, extended rights, or is unsuccessful in their application, will continue to hold their existing right until they expire. The legislation to support these changes is now being drafted and will come into force later in 2021.
The new rights will give Falkland Islands fishing companies the certainty they need to make longer term investments. At the same time, the revised conditions will support the further sustainable development of the Falklands fishing industry, and ensure that the economic benefits of fishing are retained within the Islands.
”MLA Teslyn Barkman, portfolio lead for Natural Resources, said: “We know that both Covid-19 and Brexit present specific challenges for the fishing industry and the revision to the ITQ conditions will help ensure that Falklands fisheries have strong long-term prospects. The government remains committed to working in partnership with the industry to find increasing ways to support sustainable fisheries, which together with agriculture, form the backbone of the Falkland Islands economy.”