Chinese jigger squid fishing vessel operating outside the 200 miles of Argentina (Photo: Revista Puerto)
The South Atlantic requires urgent action and simulation conspires against it
Friday, December 04, 2020, 08:00 (GMT + 9)
From both a biological and human rights point of view, what is happening in the South Atlantic is inconceivable; But the countries of the region only pretend to be interested in reversing it. The private sector, science and organized civil organizations can generate change.
Conferences are held with specialists from all over the world who warn about the impact that climate change is already generating on fish species, but everything continues to be handled in the same lanes as forty years ago. As much as possible and more are fished within Exclusive Economic Zones and many protection recommendations are ignored. Fishing in international areas is directly obscene: the killing of commercial species threatened in their sustainability and indiscriminate fishing for species at risk of collapse, without anyone putting a stop to it. Not only are endangered and protected species fished, but there is ample evidence of aberrant violations of human rights, such as slavery. To this must be added the advance of the oil industry in the oceanic spaces, which contributes a greater disturbance to the environment. The States of the region do not seem to understand the magnitude of the problem and the union between the private sector, science and civil organizations may be the only possible way to test a solution.
In Argentina, the maximum catches are sneakily surpassed because, despite having everything legally in good order, many regulations are systematically violated even with umbrellas approved by the fishing authorities themselves. Research lacks a budget, biologists earn poverty wages and state-of-the-art boats operate well below their potential for lack of money to keep the campaigns active.
Only campaigns financed by the private sector have managed in recent years to maintain the historical series of species such as shrimp and scallops, after more than a decade without data. With the rest of the species, for decades, mathematical juggling has been made to try to give management tools to the authorities and precautionary recommendations, due to the imposition of a lack of information, are often overlooked.
On the other hand, raw data from fisheries research is not shared with the rest of the scientific community; and other institutions and researchers are deprived of advancing in the study of the environment. This prevents having a more complete vision of the dimension that climate change and human action have on marine ecosystems. The news, generated from the CONICET, that the Front of the Slope is being reduced by a displacement of the current of Brazil, came to move the board.
The INIDEP should be the only State Fisheries Research Institute worldwide that produces information and then does not share it publicly
Argentina has an established order governed by the precautionary principle that must only be complied with, that depends on the officials. If they agree to go against the rules, there will be no one who will comply.
Fishing must be exemplary in complying with the rules, achieve quality and sustainability certifications, in order to face a serious problem that threatens it, offshore oil exploitation. The advancement of seismic exploration can have serious consequences on commercial species if it occurs in spawning areas and seasons, which can only be avoided if this activity is governed by the highest sustainability standards, something that does not happen at all. The exploratory work is handled by affidavit and reports from consultants paid by the oil companies.
Radar marks taken from an surveillance aircraft indicating the position of foreign vessels fishing outside the Argentine EEZ (Photo: courtesy of PNA)
Seismic explorations can only be stopped with the advancement of the protection of the oceans and it is at this point where scientists, environmentalists and fishing entrepreneurs have their meeting point within the Exclusive Economic Zone. Only the union can force itself against the powerful oil industry and the State, which seem not to care about the environmental, economic and social impacts that they can generate. In Brazil and Uruguay the same problem exists.
But there is also another problem for fishing as serious or more serious than seismic explorations: illegal or unregulated and declared fishing (IUU-IUU) that is practiced in international waters adjacent to the Argentine Sea. Here there is another meeting point between fisheries, scientists and environmentalists, to which the States should join.
Foreign vessels fishing squid outside the Argentine EEZ (Photo: courtesy of PNA)
In recent years Argentina has captured an annual average of three illegal ships within its jurisdiction, with very poor control of the maritime border, from which it can be inferred that the number of ships entering is much higher. In fact, at the beginning of the year about a hundred boats attacked our maritime platform, a situation that the government tried to deny despite the satellite records available.
Approximately 600 fishing vessels operate in the South Atlantic that fish without law and without control. In this region only one country has adhered to the FAO Port State Governing Agreement, therefore it is the only country with the capacity to generate a list of illegal or suspected illegal vessels, reporting them to international organizations. That country is Uruguay; but far from occupying the place of guardian of sustainability, it makes use of this fleet as its largest provider of goods and services. (continued ...)
Author: Karina Fernandez / Puerto Magazine | Read the full article by clicking the link here