Fishing Industry Patagonian Squid Products of the Sea

​​Current challenges in the industry: Reflections on the second 2023 Patagonian squid campaign in the Falkland Islands.

calamar patagónico congelado entero copemar

Patagonian squid (Loligo patagonia or Loligo gahi) is one of the most consumed species in Europe, and its fishing is one of the Falkland Islands’ main economic activities. Local authorities grant fishing rights to certain local companies through fishing licenses.

The activity takes place during two campaigns per year (winter and summer) for a limited number of days and a limited number of vessels. The recently concluded Patagonian squid campaign has raised concerns in the fishing industry, as it closed a month earlier than planned due to the notable scarcity of this resource. This article will examine the challenges faced by fishing companies, as well as projections for the coming months.

Early Closure of the Campaign

Catches during the first weeks of the winter Patagonian squid campaign were below expectations, leading the government to prematurely suspend the campaign for conservation reasons. Scientific reports revealed the lowest winter biomass level since 2008. The early closure on August 29, with less than half of the campaign completed, was even more premature than the two previous closures in 2015 and 2019, on September 8 and 9, respectively. The decision was made after consulting with the industry for sound stock management reasons.

This suspension has also raised concerns among various industries that depend on the Patagonian squid fishery, such as cold storage warehouses, processing industries, trading and distribution companies, and other key actors in the supply chain. Despite the fishing industry agreeing with the reasons for the closure, it will have a significant impact on the sector, which is making significant investments for the necessary fleet renewal. This situation is complicated by other factors such as high fuel costs, inflation levels in the supply chain not experienced for decades, high interest rates for external financing, and fluctuations in the squid market.

Limited stock and commercial sizes

The scarcity of squid poses significant challenges for the fishing industry. The most demanded sizes in international markets could experience an even more limited supply, affecting margins and the competitiveness of this Patagonian squid in its reference markets. On the other hand, this biological pause is necessary, as the decrease in squid populations could have consequences for the future fishing year 2024 and the immediate future of the Falklands, so closely linked to this important Patagonian squid fishing industry.

calamar patagónico congelado

Market Forecasts and an outlook for the next campaign

Despite not being close to summer in Europe (the most important months for consumption), the forecast is that Patagonian squid prices will remain stable, with some correction in larger sizes, until the next campaign begins in late February 2024.

The prevailing uncertainty in the fishing industry is palpable. Sector players face uncertainty about how the next Patagonian squid campaign will unfold. Factors such as weather conditions, species migration, and resource sustainability generate logical concerns.

Therefore, the next campaign, scheduled for late February, is crucial for the Falklands’ fishing sector and the rest of the industry dependent on this resource. The current situation in the fishing industry, marked by the scarcity of Patagonian squid, poses significant challenges. The early closure of the last campaign and market projections have created an uncertain outlook for sector players. The focus is on the next tide, which will be decisive for the long-term stability and viability of the fishing industry in this important fishing ground.

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