Fly Fishing on the Falkland Islands
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Falkland Islands Fly.Fishing

As a fly fisher, your radius of movement will most certainly be limited to West and East Falkland.
This will make you somewhat of an "exotic creature“.
For most tourists the major point of attraction is the area around the approx. 200 close by islands, where – not unlike Galapagos – a nearly untamed wildlife has been preserved.
Should you ever feel like laying your rod aside for a while, be sure to plan additional time to visit one of these unique places!
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The Isles

When the publisher of the well-known "Lonely Planet" travel guide stayed on one of the islands a few years ago, he recalled his impressions as the most touching and beautiful he had ever experienced.
For an expert who calls the world his home, that is quite something to say.
It is only on these small islands that fauna and flora have been able to survive the way they have been since prehistoric times. For example, you can find the unique Tussock grass no where else but here. It grows in high bushes, essential for the protection of ground-breeding animals.
However, it is not the biodiversity which characterizes this habitat, but the sheer mass of colonies. Proportionally there are more animal populations here than anywhere else in the world.
Transportation to these locations are carried out by FIGAS (Falkland Islands Government Air Service) propeller planes.

In the middle of the 19th century almost all seals, sea lions, sea leopards and elephant seals on the Falkland Islands were extinct.
This did not stop before the 1880s when there weren't enough animals left to "process“. It was then that man started to think – like we do today when considering what capability of destruction resides in us.
Not all stocks have recovered since then, but large colonies have returned. Plus: The Government of the Falkland Islands takes the protection of wildlife very seriously and is more than aware of their mission.

Krill is the most important component in the food chain of all marine life in the South Atlantic. Without krill, the ecosystem would collapse. Believe it or not: Slipping in a puddle of disgorged or defecated krill on a penguin colony is a good sign. It means that the small crustacean have reached their right target. And that is not commercial fishing. There is a global wrangling over krill stocks in the South Atlantic. Many nations use it – as a soup flavour enhancer, animal food or sausage ingredient. This does not require any further comment.

Over the past few decades CCALMR, the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Living Marine Resources, has been the authority to monitor krill stocks and maintain quota.
But geopolitical influences are shifting and formerly highly committed nations such as the USA or Australia are cutting their budgets. Other powers such as Russia or China appear on stage. In April 2020, a record-breaking project was announced in Shanghai: the construction of the world's largest krill cutter vessel.
You will certainly find it difficult to tear yourself away from the wonderful fishing grounds, but it doesn't take much effort to visit the deeply impressive penguin colonies on East Falkland:
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Only six kilometres outside Stanley you can visit a magellanic Penguin colony at "Gypsy Cove", which by the way is the southernmost occurrence of this species worldwide.
"Gypsy Cove" is well signposted and developed with lots of parking spaces and viewing platforms.
It might look a bit touristic, but like everything on the Falkland Islands it is integrated in a natural reserve area, surrounded by beautiful sandy beaches and lined with small bays, all of which are currently being cleared of the last landmines.
Good thing that penguins are too light to set them off…
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To visit a King Penguin colony on East Falkland takes a little more time, but is definitely worth it.
You should hire a guide to go to "Volunteer Point" in a Land Rover. The local landowner prohibits tourists driving themselves – it is not a good idea anyway. You have to have a lot of local knowledge to find your way around and not get stuck in the swamp.
As a plus I was once again thrilled by the overland trip in an old Defender through the magnificent landscape.
The Falkland Islands are the northernmost outpost where King Penguins can be found. Terrifyingly, by 1870 they were completely extinct.
Today the stocks have recovered slightly and about 2000 pairs breed on the islands again.
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We only discovered this colony of Gentoo Penguins by chance on our way to the ferry to West Falkland.
They nest just a few hundred metres from New Haven harbour.
Around 36% of the estimated 520,000 couples worldwide live in the Falklands and they are widespread around the coastline.
But also these birds went through a lot in the past.
Until the beginning of the 20th century, 70,000 Gentoo Penguin were killed annually by just one schooner. The blubber was purified to make oil. Numbers were further decimated as eggs were taken for food.

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