Friday, December 12, 2014

12/12/2014: Record year for Falklands' fish catches

THIS year will be marked as one of the most successful years in the history of the Falkland Islands fishery with several record catches registered and the total catch of all species in Falkland waters this month reaching a record of 451,000 tonnes, Merco Press reports.

Fished by 151 ships throughout the year, and with a couple of weeks still to go, this impressive total catch is already 25,000 tonnes more than the bumper year of 1989 by 278 vessels.

In an effort to visualise this record catch Senior Fisheries Scientist Dr Sasha Arkhipkin explained this week that if it was all put into 40-foot containers, and the containers placed end to end, the chain would stretch more than 180 km.

The Fisheries Department reported earlier this year two highest daily catches in both squid fisheries. On March 23 the total daily catch of Loligo reached 1102 tonnes for the day, fished by only 16 licensed trawlers.

A month later, on April 22 another daily catch made the record books. A total of 6701 tonnes of Illex was caught in Falkland waters, which was the highest daily catch since the beginning of the regulated fishery in 1987.

Dr Arkhipkin said that despite the fact the large Taiwanese fleet (up to 63 fishing vessels) fished for Illex only until May 15, when their licence period ran out, and only a small proportion of jiggers (up to 28 Korean vessels) carried on fishing until the official end date of the Illex season (June 15), the total catch attained a record of 306,000 tonnes.

“This was about 40,000 tonnes more than in the previous prolific Illex year of 1999.”
He said that on an even more positive note for the 2014 fishery, the total catch of hake (approximately 15,000 tonnes) was just slightly less than the record year of 1989 (16,480 tonnes).

Stocks of other important resources such as Loligo and rock cod were stable with total catches attaining average values for the year (49,000 tonnes and 54,000 tonnes respectively).

“Heavily depleted stocks of southern blue whiting have started to rebuild thanks to the fishing ban in spawning grounds, and after several years of absence the large surimi vessel returned to fish for southern blue whiting in Falkland waters in November 2014. They found some good concentrations of fish but still not enough for full scale operations,” said Dr Arkhipkin.

The Fisheries Department carries out a lot of oceanographic, biological and ecological studies that contribute to successful management of all fishery stocks around the Falkland Islands.

Dr Arkhipkin said their sustainable exploitation remained one of the most important long-term contributors to the Falkland Islands economy.

“Being renewable resources they should be there long after the oil runs out,” he concluded.

Read more HERE.

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