The Fisheries Department was established as a new Government Department in 1986 following the declaration of the Falkland Islands Interim Conservation and Management Zone as our Economic Exclusion Zone. The Falkland Islands was then able to control how its valuable marine resources were utilised, following years of unregulated commercial fishing activity. When first established the department was dominated by contracted staff and external scientific and management advisers. Over the past 30 plus years the department has brought its fisheries management and science in house and has grown its team to over 30 employees with a increasing number of local staff who have trained overseas and returned to the Islands.
Over this period the composition of the fishery has changed as has the management model that regulates it. Large East European vessels that once dominated the commercial activity have left and been replaced over time with a mixed trawl and jigging fleet. License fee income and national economic growth are dominated by the catches of 2 squid species and the valuable Toothfish which is caught by longline. A mixed finfish fishery makes up the balance of catches with an annual average of around 200,000 mt.
Management of the fishery has evolved over the years from a simple brokerage system through to long term joint venture agreements and finally a system of Individual Transferable Quota (ITQ) which was introduced in 2006 following the making of the Fisheries (Conservation & Management) Ordinance 2005. Control and enforcement is a key part of our regulatory function and a small team along with various surveillance tools ensure that commercial activities within our waters are compliant with the law at all times.
The department works closely with the fishing industry and signed a Fisheries Accord in 2019 that sets out how the Falkland Island Government and the Fishing industry will work together to continue to sustainably maximise the economic potential of the fisheries by supporting adequate returns to Industry for the benefit of all Falkland Islanders. It details our shared vision, priorities and ambitions forour industry over the coming years, articulates our aspirations and actions on how to grow our industry and continue to develop a seafood presence based on the carefully managed fishery of the Falkland Islands owned by Falkland Islanders.
The department also maintains a number of relationships with external institutes that support and advise our work as necessary.
For further information visit our website