Jiggers. (Photo: Stock File)
38,000 tonnes of squid caught up to the eighth season’s week
Thursday, March 09, 2017, 02:50 (GMT + 9)
After an early start with low catches, up to the eighth week of the current squid (Illex argentinus) season, daily catches were recorded of a maximum of 32 tonnes of small specimens.
This is indicated in a report that INIDEP sent to the Federal Fisheries Council (CFP), which states that until February 23 there were 53 Argentine jiggers operating.
The report also notes that around 220 foreign vessels were fishing at "Mile 201", a number expected to increase as the season progresses.
The national fleet had captured about 38,000 tonnes of squid in the first eight weeks, but it was not possible to estimate the catch of foreign vessels fishing near the limit of the Argentine EEZ due to the lack of data.
The 57 jiggers together caught 35,503 tonnes (a daily average of 27.69 tonnes per vessel), while 56 trawlers reported catching 2,309 tonnes, taken from 99 per cent south of the 44° S parallel.
The squid season started earlier than usual this year, and at first the catches were very low, averaging one tonne a day.
Between the fourth and sixth week, the highest yields were recorded, with daily catches of up to 32 tonnes, but then the yield fell to a maximum of 25 tonnes per day.
The area of operations of the Argentine jigger fleet was mainly located in the quadrants 45ºS 62ºW and from 46ºS 61ºW to 46ºS 63ºW, on concentrations of small, mature and reproducing squid of the Summer Spawning Stock.
Up to the time INIDEP drew up its report, all the squid caught belonged to the Summer Spawning Stock.
At the moment the first data on the national fleet that operates on the Southern Patagonian stock is beginning to arrive.
While the outlook is good at present, it is too early to predict what the final balance of this season will be. The sector is totally aware that the 2016 harvest started well, but then it registered a strong decline.
Last year only 60,315 tonnes of Illex squid were landed, well below the 126,670 tonnes landed in 2015 and the 168,729 tonnes recorded in 2014.
- Encouraging start for the squid season
- Squid season started earlier than usual
- Strong interest shown for squid licenses for 2017