Priority is conservation
Rafael María Delpech is Argentina's new Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Secretary. Mr. Delpech replaces Mr. Miguel Paulón who resigned in protest over President Duhalde's administration decision to tax up to 30% agriculture and fisheries exports.
In his first official act Mr. Delpech participated in the inauguration of a new fish processing plant in Puerto Madryn belonging to US multinational Irving and Johnson, where he promised more openness and "transparency" in the decision making process, as well as a greater private institutional participation in the sector's policies.
Mr. Delpech promised to work closely with the scientific research offices of the Agriculture Secretary such as SENASA (responsible for livestock health and sanitary conditions), and with INIDEP, the Mar del Plata based fisheries research center.
The new Secretary told the industry that President Duhalde's instructions regarding fisheries were very precise, long term policies so as to promote long term investments from the private sector, ensuring that the naming of a new cabinet minister does not interfere with basic policy outlines, and overall predictability regarding future planning.
However Mr. Delpech stressed that the main responsibility of the Fisheries Department of his office will be "conservation of resources".
"That is paramount for any long term industry policy this we will enforce by all means", underlined Mr. Delpech.
One of Mr. Delpech's first tasks will be to achieve stability in the fuel market since scarce supplies of diesel and gas oil, and speculative prices, are disrupting harvesting, cereal and cattle transport, and have immobilized great part of Mar del Plata's coastal fleet.
Fishermen associations in Mar del Plata are complaining not only about insufficient supplies of fuel but also about the fact that price has jumped from 220 US dollars per cubic meter last November, to 275 US dollars currently, when available.