Two Falkland Islands companies, Seaview and Seafish, announced the formation of a new joint venture fishing company named Polar Seafish Ltd – a merger of Polar Ltd and Nova Seafish Ltd.
Alex Reid, Managing Director of Seaview Ltd, spoke about the merger with Penguin News.
”Seaview and Seafish, decided to start looking at what options were available to us in order to increase our shareholding in the joint venture fishing companies. The reason we decided to do that was because we are very interested in opting for the new ITQ (Individually Transferrable Quota) that’s going to become available this year.”
An ITQ is a permit to harvest a certain amount of fish per species each year. A quota is granted to fishermen based on previous years’ catches, and quota holders are given catch limits based on the sustainability of the fish species and can harvest throughout the year.
Mr Reid explained: “It brings the Spanish partners in that we already had as the Spanish shareholders of the new Company, but it gives control to the Falkland Islands shareholders.”
Speaking about the future of the company Mr Reid said: “It also means that we’ll be able to fish our ITQ for 25 more years, so it will take us up to 2046,” and continued,
“we are also going to be participating in the marketing arm in Spain, which is something that we haven’t done before, that gives us a view from when we pull the fish out of the water to when we sell to the final client as to what is happening with our fish – which is something we’ve always been very keen to do, and now we’ve done it, so we’re very happy.”
A public statement explained that the company, “shall continue to operate in the Falklands Fisheries in which both companies have been engaged for the last three decades.” The statement added: “Our fisheries currently face significant economic, biological and management challenges, not least EU tariffs which will undermine the economics of the Loligo fishery.
However, the shareholders remain committed to the ongoing development of the fisheries in the South Atlantic and have worked together to enable this dynamic restructure to proceed.”
The press release announcing the merger also announced that they have, “endorsed the construction of a new longliner.”
“The longliner will be a vessel we hope to put to work in South Georgia, we’ve been operating in South Georgia for many years and we hope to continue to be able to do so.” Mr. Reid said.
The vessel that we have used for the past 10 years is quite old and needs replacing… This new vessel will have a lot more space; we’ll be able to carry out a lot of scientific work and we’ll be able to ensure that all our crew live in optimal conditions.”
Mr Reid said that he hopes the new vessel would be operational at some stage in 2021. (PN)