Some 1,200 crew members are readying in Galicia to depart for the South Atlantic fisheries to begin the first of two squid in Falkland Islands waters. A mission according to reports from the Vigo media, which could be one of the most difficult of the long standing relation between the Spanish fishermen and their Falklands counterpart partners.
It will be the first time that the 16 Vigo fishing vessels, with Falklands licenses that are leaving for the southern fisheries with no certainty of the results, which is of concern, very much concern for the vessel owners of the Galician port, according to the media reports.
As it is known the second 2023 season had to be suspended almost at the beginning because of the lack of catches, and so far there is no guarantee that the fisheries has recovered. The crews of the Galician vessels are veteran fishermen, most of them of Spanish origin, but also from other nationalities. Operations are expected to begin in early February and to continue in March and April. If they are lucky they could catch some 50,000 tons of squid as in previous seasons.
It would be a major success, according to Javier Touza, president of the vessels owners association. We are finishing to prepare the vessels and this week we will be leaving for the South Atlantic. .
Anyhow it's a bit of an adventure, admitted Touza. Before taking off for the season we will have an idea of prospects on the basis of an experimental trial two weeks before the official beginning of the season, 14 February, only then will we have true information on the fisheries and real possibilities. The Galician fleet has twenty years into the future in the Falklands because of the formalized agreement on quotas with local partners in the Islands.
At the same time the Vigo fishing lobby has addressed the Falklands authorities to try and avoid an increase in the price of fishing licenses, 22% higher than the previous season, revealed Touza. The Lobbyist insists that the increase in 2024 comes not in the best of conditions, given not only the uncertain conditions of the fisheries, but also inflation which has seen an increase in costs while consumption and demand for sea produce have been dropping. In these conditions the increase has not been timely, but nevertheless we continue working with our partners and hoping to make the fisheries profitable.