Falkland Islands Economy

Falkland Islands Geography and Economy


According to abbreviationfinder, the Falkland Islands are made up of just over two hundred islands, where two main islands stand out: the Gran Malvina island to the west, with a surface area of 4377 km²; and Soledad Island to the east, with 6353 km². There are a large number of small satellite islands and islets, the most isolated being the small island Beauchene about 55 kilometers south of Punta del Toro or Porpoise at the southern end of Soledad Island. Some of these satellite groups make up true archipelagos, such as those of the Sebaldes or Sebaldinas islands to the northwest of the Gran Malvina island. See Falkland Islands facts.

To the south of the Malvinas, the Burdwood or Namuncurá bank is located at a shallow depth, in which the prospects indicate the existence of a rich set of mining deposits, including those of hydrocarbons.

  • Total area: 12,173 km² (including the two main islands – Soledad: 6353 km² and Gran Malvina: 4377 km² – and about 200 smaller islands).


Surrounded by the cold waters of the South Atlantic Ocean, the Falkland Islands have a subantarctic maritime climate highly influenced by the ocean, having a narrow-range annual temperature. The average maximum temperature in January is 12.8 ° C, while in July it is around 3.9 ° C. More than half the year the days are rainy, the average annual rainfall is 574 mm, but Soledad Island is generally more humid than the Greater Malvina.

Humidity and winds are constantly high and the sky is frequently cloudy. Snow is rare and does not accumulate, but it can occur almost any time of the year except January and February. Winds are very frequent, particularly in winter, with strong westerly winds prevailing. The climate is similar to the Shetland Islands in the UK, but with less rainfall and longer and slightly harsher winters.


The archipelago is covered to a great extent with shrubs (pompadour grass or Festuca flabellata), which at certain points reach 2 meters in height. In the moors, there are heaths and mosses that become intertwined with the abundant peat bogs. The existence of an autochthonous arboreal flora is not known.


There is an abundance of littoral fauna: pinnipeds (sea ​​lions, sea ​​lions, etc.), cetaceans (southern right whales, dolphins, orcas, etc.) and native birds (penguins of different species, gulls, caranchos, petrels, pigeons, skuas, cormorants, and so on).

The surrounding waters are very rich in edible fish, shellfish, crustaceans and mollusks (octopus, potas, etc.).

The only native land-based quadruped mammal, the guará, was exterminated by the British between 1873 and 1876, also in that period because they were considered “pests”, wild pigs and hares were exterminated. The current terrestrial mammal fauna is entirely non-native: domestic and semi-domestic animals (horses and cattle come largely from Argentina), sheep and recently the attempted acclimatization of reindeer brought from South Georgia Island.

Economic development

The economy was based on livestock, mainly sheep farming, but today fishing is the core of economic activity. In 1987 the British government of the islands began to sell fishing licenses to foreign companies within the exclusive fishing area of the Falklands delimited by the United Kingdom. These licenses totaled more than US $ 40 million a year, which is used to administer the islands’ health, education and welfare systems. Shrimp make up 75% of the catch. The dairy industry is used for internal consumption; crops nourish winter fodder.

Exports consist of shipments of high quality wool to the UK, stamps and coins. To encourage tourism, the Falkland Islands Development Corporation has built three cabins for visitors attracted by wildlife and fishing. Currently the islands are self-financing except for defense. The British Geological Survey announced the presence of a 200-mile oil exploration zone around the islands in 1993 and the first seismic surveys suggest the possibility of substantial reserves capable of producing 500,000 barrels of oil per day. Oil basins have recently been discovered to the south and north of the archipelago.

An agreement between Argentina and the United Kingdom in 1995 sought to eliminate the conflicts of licenses and sovereignty that could hinder foreign interest in the exploitation of reserves.

  • GDP: purchasing power parity – $ 123 million (fiscal year 2001).
    • GDP growth rate: 3% (2001)
    • GDP per capita: USD $ 42,447 – GBP £ 24,030 (2001)
  • Bank rate: 4%
  • Inflation rate: 3.5% (2001)
  • Workforce: 1,100 (approx.)
  • Industries: wool, fish processing; sale of stamps and coins.
  • Electricity production: 12 million kWh (1999).
  • Electricity production by source:
    • Fossil fuel: 100%
  • Electricity consumption: 11.2 million kWh (1999).
  • Agricultural products: forage and other vegetable crops; sheep and dairy products.
  • Exports: US $ 7.6 million (1995).
  • Export products: wool, skins, and squid.
  • Destination of exports: Spain, United Kingdom, Chile, etc.
  • Products of imports: fuel, foodstuffs, building materials, clothing.
  • Origin of imports: United Kingdom, Chile, Uruguay, Japan, and New Zealand.
  • Financial aid: received in 1995 a loan for US $ 1.7 million.
  • Currency: Falkland Islands

Falkland Islands Economy

About the author