Falklands fishery marks 20th anniversary Published: 26 February, 2007
FALKLAND Islands-registered fishing vessels have gathered in Stanley harbour to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the creation of the Falklands fishery.
The first fishing zone around the Falklands was declared in October 1986 and the fishing license regime came into force in February 2007. Falklands waters are noted for their squid production. Squid usually account for around 75% of annual catches of some 200,000 tonnes, and are destined for markets in Europe and the Far East. Revenue from the sale of fishing licenses has been as high as £20-25M.
The fishery has been described as the best managed fishery in the world. To ensure that conservation targets are achieved, fishing effort is controlled by limiting the number of vessels licensed to fish within the zone. To protect against poachers, the waters are patrolled by Falkland Islands Government aircraft and an armed fishery protection vessel.
A recent major review of fisheries policy concluded with agreement on three significant policy initiatives, outlined as follows:
The development of port infrastructure and services to enable more fishing vessels to use Stanley as their home port, and to develop the range of fishing related activities that could be undertaken ashore, such as services to vessels and storage and processing of catch;
The development of aquaculture and marine farming, introducing specific legislation to facilitate and regulate development;
The introduction of a system of transferable rights in the fishery, which will have similarities with the Individual Transferable Quota schemes used elsewhere, but continue to be based on fishing effort. The security and flexibility this will give the industry should lead to significant development making this probably the most fundamental change in the fishery since the introduction of the fisheries zone.
On 18 April, the Falkland Islands Government is holding a business Forum in London looking at the Islands economic development over the past 25 years and opportunities for the future – including the development of commercial fishing and aquaculture and how to balance exploitation and conservation. For more information, or to register as a delegate, visit www.falklands.gov.fk/forum2007
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