GSGSSI has announced it will issue two-year fishing licences to companies who successfully apply to fish for toothfish and icefish in the SGSSI Maritime Zone. The decision was made following consultation with the fishing industry and stakeholders. Responses to the consultation were all broadly supportive of the suggested move to two-year licences and the new system will take effect from the start of the 2013/14 season.
The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) has set the toothfish catch limit in sub area 48.3(South Georgia) at 2400 tonnes, however GSGSSI has said it is likely to limit this to approximately 2200 tonnes in 2013/14. The catch limit for 2014/15 will be confirmed in December 2014, but is expected to be no less than 2000 tonnes. There are likely to be six licences offered for the two year period.
Applicants for the two-year licences will find the application system largely unchanged from previous licensing rounds and they will be assessed in the normal way with GSGSSI undertaking an initial sift of the applications and then seeking flag state advice from the Secretary of State. The new licences will not be transferrable to other owners or operators, though the Director of Fisheries may consider applications (by an operator) to change the vessel between years. Licences for the South Sandwich Islands (SSI) fishery will also be offered on a two-year basis. CCAMLR has set separate Patagonian (45 tonnes) and Antarctic (24 tonnes) toothfish quotas for sub area 48.4 (South Sandwich Islands) and it is likely that two vessels will be licensed to fish there.
For the Icefish fishery, CCAMLR has agreed a catch limit of 4,635 tonnes for 2013/14 and 2,659 tonnes for 2014/15. Under similar arrangements as for the Toothfish licencing, GSGSSI is likely to offer a maximum of 5 licences in this fishery.
You can read the long-term licences announcement in full here [pdf, 0.7Mb].