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Sea-Ex > Commercial Fishing > Seafood Industry Contacts by Country > Falkland Islands
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Commercial Fishing & Seafood Industry Contacts - Falkland Islands



Government Contacts & Information Resources for
Commercial Fishing, Seafood, Aquaculture, Marine & Oceans in Falkland Islands

The Falkland Islands ( Span. Islas Malvinas)
A group of islands in the southern Atlantic Ocean east of the Strait of Magellan. Controlled by Great Britain since the 1830s, the islands are also claimed by Argentina and were occupied briefly by Argentinean troops in 1982 before being reoccupied by British forces.

Commercial Fishing in the Falkland Islands
Since the late 1980s, however, the rich fishing grounds surrounding the islands have become the economic mainstay, as a result of the sale of licenses to foreign commercial fishing operations.

The government sale of fishing licences to foreign countries has brought in more than 40 million a year in revenues, and local fishing boats are also in operation. More than 75% of the fish taken are squid, and most exports are to Spain.

Squid is the most important catch. Squid fishing vessel (jigger). Squid are caught at night, attracted by rows of very bright lights, which line each side of the vessel.

The Falkland Islands Government spends 6m per annum on fisheries protection and research. Revenue from the fishery remains the main income source for the Government (making up 35% of income and circa 60% of GDP).

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. The balance of catches consist of various finfish species including Blue Whiting, Hake, Hoki and Toothfish.

Illex argentinus squid are fished principally by specialist squid jigging vessels from the Far East. Loligo gahi squid are fished mainly by trawlers registered in the Falklands and owned jointly by Falklands and European companies. There are over 20 ocean going fishing vessels registered in Stanley.

Revenue from the sale of fishing licenses has been as high as 20-25M. More recently revenue has declined to 12-15M per annum as a result of several very poor Illex seasons. As a consequence the Illex fishery has been closed early to protect stocks and a significant proportion of the license fees have been refunded. Squid stocks can be quite volatile due to their one year life cycle. Some 5M of fisheries income is spent each year on fisheries protection and research.

To ensure that conservation targets are achieved, fishing effort is controlled by limiting the number of vessels licensed to fish within the zone. Additional restrictions include closed areas and season to protect spawning squid and, in the case of finfish, a minimum mesh size is imposed. Catch data is collected from all vessels on a daily basis.

To protect against poachers, the waters are patrolled by Falkland Islands Government aircraft and an armed fishery protection vessel.

A major review of fisheries policy concluded with agreement on three significant policy initiatives, outlined as follows:

1.  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;

2.  The development of aquaculture and marine farming, introducing specific legislation to facilitate and regulate development;

3.  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.

The common theme of all three policy initiatives is to greatly expand the contribution made by fisheries and maritime businesses to the Falklands economy.

Falkland Islands fisheries law was substantially revised and re-stated in 2005; this is the first major revision of fisheries law since the introduction of the Fishing Zone in 1986. The new law enables and regulates the new system of transferable fishing rights. It has also provided the opportunity to update fisheries law incorporating a number of international developments particularly in relation to the conservation of marine resources.


The Falkland Islands Government Webpage - Information about the Islands, Government, economy, life in the Falklands, the environment...


Ocean Health Index - Falkland Islands - The Ocean Health Index is a valuable tool for the ongoing assessment of ocean health. By providing a means to advance comprehensive ocean policy and compare future progress, the Index can inform decisions about how to use or protect marine ecosystems. The Index is a collaborative effort, made possible through contributions from more than 65 scientists/ocean experts and partnerships between organizations including the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, Sea Around Us, Conservation International, National Geographic, and the New England Aquarium. Information for Falkland Islands


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