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Montevideo, May 24th 2024 - 17:04 UTC

 

 

Falklands' fishing companies after a Southwest Atlantic fisheries management pact

Wednesday, April 24th 2024 - 10:05 UTC
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James Bates, Executive Secretary from the Falkland Islands Fishing Companies Association at the 2024 Seafood Expo Global in Barcelona, Spain this week.  (Pic Seafood Source) James Bates, Executive Secretary from the Falkland Islands Fishing Companies Association at the 2024 Seafood Expo Global in Barcelona, Spain this week. (Pic Seafood Source)

“The Southwest Atlantic is the largest body of water in the in the world without a RFMO (regional fisheries management organization) and that’s something the Falkland Islands are very keen to see put in place,” said James Bates, Executive Secretary from the Falkland Islands Fishing Companies Association at the 2024 Seafood Expo Global in Barcelona, Spain this week.

 “There's no getting around the fact that you can see Asian long-distant fishing fleet in the Southwest Atlantic, even from space, and so we are crying out for cooperation, for an RFMO for the region that will include the likes of Great Britain, Argentina, and the Falklands that puts politics aside and focuses on the bigger the larger good,” added Mr. Bates to fish industry media, underlining that fishing remains the Falklands biggest economic driver, accounting for 65% of the Islands’ GDP in 2023.

The Islands play host to a fleet of licensed vessels fishing year-round for a diverse range of species, including loligo and illex squid, southern blue whiting, hake, king clip, red cod, rock cod, and Patagonian toothfish.

“We're responsible about our fisheries. For us, it’s fair to say that everybody's life in the Falklands is impacted by the fishing industry in one way, shape, or form. Obviously, the government receives license fees and corporation taxes, and that goes on to fund our government and life on the Islands,” Bates said.

“The government of course is keen and enthusiastic to explore other sort of revenue streams, because obviously you can't have all your eggs in one basket. But at the moment, and probably for the next few years, at least, fishing will remain the number-one industry of importance to the Falklands.”

While the Falklands’ government maintains control over its exclusive economic zone, which stretches 200 miles out from the Islands except where it bumps up against Argentina’s EEZ, the area is a popular destination for distant vessels from other nations, particularly China.

Bates said Argentina estimates annual losses of some US$ 25.5 million, Euros 22.5 million, tied to illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing in its waters, and has invested in expanding the surveillance and control capacity of maritime resources in a move to stop those losses. In an April 2020 incident, about 100 mostly Chinese-flagged squid jiggers were allegely fishing illegally in Argentina's national waters, with their automatic  tracking devices turned off, leading to a Argentine Coast Guard opening fire on one of the vessels.

Categories: Fisheries, Falkland Islands.

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