The Falkland Islands and South Atlantic
COMMERCIAL FISHING, jiggers in Stanley harbour


Fishing, in terms of GDP is the most lucrative industry in the islands, accounting for around 40% of the Falklands total and about one third of the Government’s revenue. Few islanders are employed in it however, with most crews coming from other countries. Since 1987, the sale of commercial fishing licences has brought considerable wealth and stability to an economy that was reliant almost solely on wool and it has transformed the economy. Most licences are sold to European and Asian fishing vessels.  Yields fluctuate but they have generated between £10- 30 million annually since 1987.
The Falklands claim an exclusive fishing right for a radius of 200 nautical miles and operate within two zones, an Inner Conservation Zone (FICZ) where the seas are slightly shallower, and an Outer Conservation Zone (FOCZ), in total an area of about 60,000 square miles. Fish thrive in the fast moving and cold currents around the Falklands.
Around 200,000 tons of fish are harvested annually, with squid accounting for about 75% of the annual catch in a typical year. The other quarter is made up of a variety of toothfish, mostly Rock Cod, Hoki and Hake. Three quarters of the squid harvest is Illex and the rest Loligo. Most fish is traded with the EU, particularly Spain, although Brexit has made this more difficult. Half all Calamari eaten in Southern Europe is likely to come from Falklands waters.
Joint ventures between Falkland Island companies and foreign owners make up most of the Falkand Islands fishing fleet but there are also jiggers, completely foreign owned, operating in the waters.
The Falklands Government is very conscious of the need for good management and understanding of fish stock and the licences are carefully allocated and monitored with emphasis on sustaining fishery resources for the future and protecting other species including seabirds and marine mammals.
The fishing industry is supported by a chartered Fishing Protection Vessel and aerial surveillance by FIGAS.
Like all industries fishing is currently facing an uncertain period of  time with the challenges of Covid-19 and the consequences of Brexit.






Sources include: Falkland Islands Fisheries Dept.
Photographic credits: Header, Robert Maddocks
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