The ITF is working closely with its affiliated fishing unions in Latin America to support them in their campaigns and goals. This includes projects and campaigns, both on the Pacific and Atlantic coasts.
In that context, the ITF organized regional workshops in Montevideo, Uruguay, at the end of 2022, to discuss regional cooperation and agree on a shared action plan.
This meeting was initiated by affiliates in Argentina and supported by affiliates in Uruguay and Brazil, who are campaigning against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in the South West Atlantic and, together with their affiliates, are fighting to end forced labor and slavery at sea, an issue that has received worldwide attention.
The ITF entrusted Sabina Goldaracena with an investigation into the main manifestations of IUU fishing in the Patagonian Platform or FAO statistical subarea 41.3.1, internationally known for being one of the global hot spots for this activity. That region of the sea is commonly called "Milla 201" Argentina.
Lights of the foreign fleet in mile 201 | (credit CLG News)
The research suggests that the main component of IUU fishing in the area is unregulated fishing, posing a threat to the sustainability of the fisheries and the fishing industry of the riparian states. It also reports that the number of vessels that fish at Mile 201 has doubled in the last 15 years, mainly due to the increase in the number of Chinese vessels.
The report highlights some distorted interpretations of the preponderance of IUU fishing components in Mile 201, highlighting that unregulated fishing in the area adjacent to that of national jurisdiction is unsustainable, but not necessarily illegal.
Contour map of the Patagonian Platform —FAO statistical subarea 41.3.1— and distant water fleets in the 2012 Mile. Source: Modified from Starboard Maritime Intelligence.
It also reveals sources of errors and distortions about the nature of the problem in some academic and journalistic publications, which lead to overstating the magnitude of illegal fishing by distant water fleets within the Argentine ZEE. Both illegal and unregulated fishing present manifestations on the Patagonian platform.
In the introduction to the report, its author warns that: "Fishing activities outside the exclusive economic zone, but very close to it, are generating a serious environmental problem in the Southwestern Atlantic Ocean that requires the urgent adoption of conservation and management measures" .
Urges, urgently and indispensably, "the involvement and cooperation of those affected, experts and those involved, at all levels, in the search for adequate solutions to the particular reality and the possibilities of the parties, so that without further delay start discussing and negotiating measures to curb overfishing in the area adjacent to the Exclusive Economic Zone of Argentina (ZEEA)”
In the words of Chris Williams of the ITF Fisheries Section: "This report sheds light on some common misunderstandings, as well as a real threat to sustainable fisheries in the South Atlantic, which concerns everyone who works in the fisheries sector. of the region.” “Legal, regulated and sustainable fishing is a source of decent work and, at the same time, the future of its workers depends on it”.
Ariel Sudan, Center for Maritim Fisheries and Coastal Skippers and Rivers Officials, says: "Protecting the rights of workers and the sustainability of the species in our seas are the key to the balance and continuity of our livelihood."
Angel Juan Navarro, Fisheries Secretary of the United Maritime Workers Union (SOMU), President of the ITF Latin American and Caribbean Fisheries Section, states: ”This IUU fishing report provides an analysis of vessels fishing in mile 201, highlighting the lack of Regulation for the number of boats, which generates forced labor and slavery at sea for the crews, also causing a fishing effort that is unsustainable for the sustainability of the fishing ground, affecting the work of the fishing sector in the region , this uncontrolled activity generates a serious environmental problem in the Southwestern Atlantic due to the amount of waste and fluids generated by these ships that end up in the sea. It is required that measures be urgently adopted seeking order, involving the cooperation of all those affected seeking solutions to put a stop to the overexploitation of the fishing resource, the working conditions of all crew members and the care of the Environmental Impact caused by this fleet, affecting the fishing resource of the entire region".