The Falkland Islands government has announced changes to its ITQ arrangements, offering current rights holders the option of a new 25-year rights period, even though the current rights remain valid for another decade.
The new 25-year rights come with conditions to applicants meeting a set of new set of eligibility criteria, including a requirement for any joint ventures undertaking fishing operations to be at least 51% Falklands-owned – an increase from the current of 25.1% minimum.
According to the Falkland Islands Government, these new conditions support the future development of the fishing industry in the Falkland Islands. Each ITQ holder will have an individual action plan which sets out how they will contribute to delivering the Fisheries Accord signed by both FIG and FIFCA. The Accord is based on five outcomes: building a sustainably managed and successful seafood sector, ensuring healthy oceans, caring for our environment, protecting our people and caring for the community.
The new rights conditions are described as giving Falkland Islands fishing companies the certainty they need to make longer term investments, while the revised conditions are designed support the further sustainable development of the Falklands fishing industry, and ensure that the economic benefits of fishing are retained within the Islands.
Existing ITQ rights are due to expire in 2031 and any holder choosing not to apply for the new, extended rights, or is unsuccessful in their application, will continue to hold their existing right until they expire.
The legislation to support these changes is now being drafted and will come into force later in 2021.
‘We know that both Covid-19 and Brexit present specific challenges for the fishing industry and the revision to the ITQ conditions will help ensure that Falklands fisheries have strong long-term prospects,’ said MLA Teslyn Barkman, the Falkland Island Government’s portfolio lead for Natural Resources.
‘The government remains committed to working in partnership with the industry to find increasing ways to support sustainable fisheries, which together with agriculture, form the backbone of the Falkland Islands economy.’