Yesterday the Executive Council (ExCo) approved the referral of the Fisheries (Conservations and Management) (Amendment) Bill 2021 to the Legislative Assembly next month.
The bill will enable the implementation of a revised ITQ (Individual Transferable Quota) scheme (known as ITQ B), with licences to fish catch entitlement due to come into force from January 2023.
Existing ITQ rights are due to expire in 2031; companies wishing to retain these rights can continue to operate in the usual way, however those wanting to apply for ITQ B for a new 25-year period will need to meet the following key criteria:
• Eligible applicants must own at least 51% of a qualifying company that will undertake the fishing or provide evidence of capacity to undertake fishing in its own right
• Each company that wishes to be listed on the ITQ B Eligibility Register must have an action plan in place to include the milestones and goals that it will deliver. The action plans will be based on the goals set out in the FIG-FIFCA Fisheries Accord.
The Bill includes a number of linked and supporting measures. Catch entitlement generated by ITQ B can only be held by an ITQ B eligible company. Directors of eligible companies must exercise independent judgement on matters before the company, have Falkland Islands status and be ordinarily resident here. An eligible company must become a member of the Falkland Islands Fishing Companies Association (FIFCA) so that it is tied into the existing FIG-FIFCA Fisheries Accord. In addition, any charter party agreement entered into by an eligible or qualifying company for the purposes of exploiting catch entitlement generated by ITQ B must be approved by FIG.
MLA Teslyn Barkman, Portfolio Lead for Fisheries, said: “The review of ITQ has taken practical steps to ensure our valuable fisheries prosper for generations to come. We set a bold political vision to achieve a balance of benefits to the community, environment, economy and industry, and importantly outlined how that will be delivered. ITQ B will give fishing companies the confidence to consider future investments, while supporting the further sustainable development of our fisheries and economy over the next 25 years.”
Should the Bill be approved by the Legislative Assembly in September, applications for ITQ B should open towards the end of 2021, and fishing under the new licences will begin in January 2023.
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