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This is the movement of Chinese ships (Photo: Global Fishing Watch)

'The pirates have arrived'

Click on the flag for more information about Argentina ARGENTINA
Thursday, December 02, 2021, 01:00 (GMT + 9)

When the jiggers arrive at the fishing zone on January 7, hundreds of boats will already be catching squid: "There are already more than a hundred foreign fishing boats that have settled on the edge of mile 200 of the Argentine EEZ," Milko Schvartzman reported. The national fleet will reach the fishing zone in a month.

While Argentina meets all the biological requirements for a sustainable exploitation of illex squid, at the edge of mile 200 hundreds of foreign boats begin to fish without any control. Milko Schvartzman, the specialist in marine conservation and illegal fishing at the Environmental Policy Circle, always with an eye on the South Atlantic, revealed the arrival of a hundred boats last Monday.

The Federal Fisheries Council approved the request made each year by the Argentine jigging fleet, early in the season and will begin fishing on January 7, 2022; In addition, the search and exploration of the South Patagonian Stock will be allowed, between the parallels 49 ° S and 52 ° South, until January 20.

In Argentina we care about the sustainable exploitation of resources. The INIDEP Cephalopod Program has been working for more than twenty years in the meticulous monitoring of the species; the anticipated opening of the season has been analyzed and evaluated through campaigns before being allowed.

Exploiting our resources in a sustainable way is what we have to do, but it is not enough, because no matter what we do, others will be in charge of fishing it uncontrollably, without any regulations and also illegally.

By the time the jiggers reach the fishing zone in sustainable conditions, it will be a month since hundreds of boats stationed themselves at the edge of the Exclusive Economic Zone, trying to catch as much illex squid as possible.

On Monday, the marine conservation specialist Milko Schvartzman published on his Twitter account the satellite image of the caravan of ships coming from the Pacific, passing through the Strait of Magellan to settle for several months in front of our maritime platform.

“The pirates have arrived! There are already more than a hundred foreign fishing vessels that have settled on the edge of mile 200 of the Argentine EEZ ", wrote Schvartzman and added:" In infrared images I have been able to count 55 jiggers who are dedicated to extracting squid ", before it begins the Argentine season, which he described as "unpunished predation."

"There are four states that subsidize their vessels to travel to the most distant fishing grounds, which abound in resources already exploited to the maximum in the Northern Hemisphere: China, Spain, South Korea and Taiwan," says the specialist.

Today the 12th World Conference of the WTO should have started, in which it was intended to reach an agreement regarding the reduction of harmful subsidies for fishing, but it was suspended due to issues related to a re-outbreak of Covid, without a new date being set.

Photo: Argentina Navy

The elimination of subsidies is essential to prevent poor countries like Argentina from suffering the looting of natural resources at the hands of foreigners. Eliminating subsidies is a first step to eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing in international waters, where there is no type of regulation.

According to the expert on illegal fishing, the percentage according to the nationality of vessels that are concentrated in the South Atlantic in front of Argentina, varies from year to year, but on average we would be facing 60% by Chinese flag boats, 15% from Korea, 14% from Taiwan and 11% from Spain.

China is one of the countries that is resisting the elimination of the subsidies that the WTO intends to agree to, despite the fact that the restrictions on vessels that fish in distant waters are not as severe as the nations affected by them expected. Spain has also resisted, as Europe's main fishing power, the elimination of fuel subsidies.

<---- Photo: Milko Schvartzman

As long as no drastic resolutions are made, the scene in the South Atlantic will repeat itself every year as it has for decades. The image of the floating city already has the same level of symbolism of reference as the yellow boats in the city of Mar del Plata. A postcard of unpunished predation, as the conservationist points out.

Tomorrow, the Circle of Environmental Policies will hold a regional workshop entitled "Illegal fishing and distant fleets", in which its environmental, social and economic impact will be addressed; the global situation and in Latin America and the violation of human rights, an issue that neither the WTO nor the UN have yet addressed. Milko Schvartzman will be one of the speakers, along with Austin Brush, Henry Peyronnin and Michelle Carrère. A timely debate that can be accessed by subscribing on the site https://www.trazabilidaddelapesca.org/charlas-y-talleres/

Author / Source: Karina Fernandez / Revista Puerto (article available only in spanish)


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