Illex squid. (Photo: INIDEP)
Chinese jiggers operating on the high seas worry local fisheries authorities
Friday, January 12, 2018, 21:40 (GMT + 9)
A large fishing fleet that is gathering about 400 miles north of the Falkland Islands to catch Illex squid has become a matter of concern for the Falkland Islands Fisheries Department.
The director of Fisheries, John Barton, confirmed to Penguin News that the fleet has been concentrating for some time and it is very likely that it will be catching small sized squid, and that it will have the capacity to extract large volumes of this cephalopod.
These activities could have a negative impact on the level of catches in the archipelago fishing grounds. It is mostly Chinese fishing that are ahead of the season, which will now add some jiggers that already have a license from the Falklands. It is estimated that there are more than 200 fishing vessels operating outside the exclusive economic zone of Argentina in the vicinity of the 45 ° S parallel.
The Illex squid catch season will begin on February 15 and the level of fishing effort remains unchanged from previous seasons, with 105 jiggers and a trawler licensed to squid, Barton said.
The dDrector of Fisheries said that it is difficult to predict what the season will be like, even though there is an abundance of squid, given that the factors that influence migration and distribution can have a great impact.
"The 2017 season with 67,000 tonnes of squid was low in terms of catch, but I think it was compensated to some extent by the higher prices," Barton explained.
The Illex represents GBP 6.3 million per year for the economy of the Islands. In a good year of the squid season, the Government can get around GBP 21.5 million in income from fishing licenses, although it is also true that in bad years the amount of licenses is reimbursed to fishing vessels.
The squid normally represents 75 per cent of annual catches of the Falkland Islands of some 200,000 tonnes, and are destined for markets in Europe and the Far East.
Source: Penguin News