Headlines:Korean poacher arrested in Argentina;
Toothfish pirates under increasing pressure; Additional TAC for commercial species; Rio de Janeiro seeks to regain leading position; Peru promotes individual fishing quotas.
Toothfish pirates under increasing pressure
A local toothfish fishing vessel has been threatened by four alleged pirates in the Southern Ocean on the border of the country's Patagonian toothfish fishery, while an alleged pirate boat has been photographed in the French Economic Exclusion Zone (EEZ), both in the last 48 hours.
These are just two of the latest incidents of alleged pirate activities in the Patagonian toothfish fishery that have been reported to COLTO, the newly launched international Coalition for Legal Toothfish Operators. The reports join a growing amount of intelligence on illegal fishing of toothfish that the organization has received over the last few weeks, according to press release.
COLTO launched just over a month ago in Brussels, is a non-profit organization with 26 member companies from 10 different countries. It says that it has been overwhelmed by the response to its Wanted Campaign, which offers substantial financial reward of USD 100,000 for anyone who exposes toothfish pirates and their illegal operations.
A spokesperson for COLTO, Falkland Islander Hamish Wylie, said that because of the risk involved in being a whistleblower, information had been slow to come through at first. COLTO is offering large rewards "because it is dealing with syndicated crime on a global scale," he added.
Mr Wylie, who is the chairman of Consolidated Fisheries based in the Falkland Islands, said that information received by the organization generally included the names of boats involved in suspicious fishing practices, the names of skippers and crews, sites where pirate boats are unloading and how pirates evade capture by the authorities.
A recent campaign in Indonesia to paste up copies of the Wanted Posters had been very successful and was leading to more information explained Mr. Wylie adding that the campaign is currently being examined by COLTO.
"It is obvious that claims by authorities that the problem of toothfish pirates has been reduced are not supported by the information coming to COLTO."
"COLTO objective is to stop any toothfish being taken illegally before the continuing criminal activities put us all out of business, destroy unique ecosystems and decimate toothfish stocks", highlighted Mr. Wylie. (FIS/MP).- Korean poacher arrested in Argentina
Korean poacher arrested in Argentina
An Argentine Coast Guard (PNA) patrol arrested Monday June 23 a South Korean flagged vessel caught fishing without a valid permit in the gulf of San Jorge in Patagonia. Following a lengthy chase, including warning shots, Coast Guard GC 24 "Mantilla" finally boarded the fishing vessel "Esperanza". Recently caught pollack, 49 tons of frozen fish and other tonnage of unprocessed catches were discovered in the hold.
According to the official PNA report, issued late on Tuesday, 36 crewmembers were arrested for trying to evade the authorities. The report states that the Korean flagged Esperanza was within the 198 nautical mile limit of the Gulf of San Jorge and failed to respond when ordered to stop. Coast Guard "Mantilla" had to fire warning shots when the vessel refused to obey orders.
Finally detained and boarded Argentine PNA personnel discovered the illegal catches in "Esperanza", which was then escorted to the port of San Julián, in Santa Cruz province. The official report reveals that the crew is Asian and its base port is Yeong Degu Buzan.
Federal Judge Eva Parcio from Comodoro Rivadavia has taken the case. PNA presented its report to the Secretary of State for Fisheries.
When the incident became public Patagonian politicians called on the federal government to urgently implement the satellite control system. Provincial officials indicated that this was not an isolated event, but rather a repetition of the law violating attitude in Argentine waters of many Asian vessels. (FIS/MP).- Additional TAC for commercial species
Additional TAC for commercial species
The Argentine Federal Fisheries Council (CFP) announced the 2003 Total Allowable Catch (TAC) figures for species that were not included in a previous CFP Resolution No. 10/2003, which was released in the first week of June.
Under CFP Resolution No. 12/2003, the TACs for skate, angel-shark, smooth-hound and sea-trout are as follows:
Skate: 4.000 TAC (tons)
Argentine angel-shark: 3.000
Narrow-nose sooth-hound: 7.200
CFP regulations state that skate fishing vessel owners must pay the costs of onboard observers under the programme implemented by the National Institute for Fisheries Research and Development (INIDEP). The indication is included in Resolution No. 13/2003 which highlights the importance of having accurate data supplied by observers. It says this will help authorities manage these species more effectively by learning more about their biology, ecology and life history.
To reduce pressure on shark populations, the same resolution specifies that sharks over 1.6 meters long caught by non-coastal fishing boats with valid fishing permits should immediately be returned to the sea. There is currently insufficient data on shark stocks to allow the authorities to set an appropriate TAC, but scientific studies show that survival rates are likely to be high among sharks that are returned to the sea. (FIS/MP).- Rio de Janeiro seeks to regain leading position
Rio de Janeiro seeks to regain leading position
The Government of the Brazilian state of Rio de Janeiro is launching a new project to build more fishing vessels in an attempt to revitalize the local fishing industry. Rio authorities indicated they intend to restore the local fishing industry to its former position as Brazil's leading fisheries producer. Now Rio has slipped to fourth place.
"We are talking about a sector that is capable of creating 3,000 jobs in fishing vessel construction," said Christino Áureo, Rio de Janeiro's Secretary for Agriculture, Supplies, Fisheries and Interior Development.
The Rio government project - sponsored by Governor Rosinha Garotinho - is based on the construction of a fishing terminal in the metropolitan area, with warehouses along the coast and the establishment of a port for high seas fishing vessels. There is also a short-term alternative which is to refurbish Forno Port, in Arraial do Cabo.
The project includes plans to adapt shipyards currently used for the construction of offshore platforms to produce "high quality" fishing vessels. The project will be presented following the Aquaculture and Fisheries Conference in Niteroi next June 29.
Mr. Áureo said the federal Government would be investing BRL 1,500 million to build more modern fishing vessels that can process fish on the high seas.
"These vessels need a port that is capable of keeping the product in good condition otherwise the investment will be lost," he added.
The Río government is considering the possibility of using Barreto and Niteroi ports as storage points for catches, while Rio de Janeiro would be the ideal place to set up processing plants. There are also plans to create a network that includes a large terminal, a port and several warehouses in Angra and Paraty, located on the outskirts of the capital and in the North Lakes region. (FIS/MP).- Peru promotes individual fishing quotas
Peru promotes individual fishing quotas
The Peruvian government is trying to gain support from companies, regional authorities and fisheries institutes for introducing an individual quota system next year in an attempt to rationalize the use of fishery resources. Peruvian Fisheries Deputy Minister Leoncio Alvarez said the government, together with the Peruvian Institute of the Sea (Imarpe), had organised a series of meetings sponsored by the FAO, to promote the system that is being applied to a number of fisheries throughout the world. Mr. Alvarez said it would initially be applied to fully exploited resources such as anchovy and hake, and is already being used on an experimental basis on the Paita coast. Quoted by Gestión, Mr. Alvarez said authorities were assessing the possibility of introducing the system into all of the country's industrial fisheries. "We have to work very thoroughly as this is something that will revolutionize national fisheries," indicated Mr. Alvarez adding that the government's first task was to gain support from interested parties and "to reach consensus among businessmen, universities, regional governments and ministries". On the subject of quotas, Mr. Alvarez said the anchovy fishing ban in Peruvian waters would begin in early July because according to official estimates, the 3 million tons industrial quota for the first six months of the year had almost been reached. As well as tackling overcapacity and imposing fishing bans to protect resources, Mr. Alvarez mentioned the government's progress in the fight against illegal fishing. "112 vessels - and other 42 recently detected culprits - have already been sanctioned in the fight against illegal fishing and overcapacity", said Mr. Alvarez who remarked that "although it has already been substantially reduced, I hope we can definitively eradicate illegal fishing this year," said Alvarez. Peruvian Deputy Fisheries Minister revealed that illegal fishing by industrial vessels within the five mile area that is reserved for coastal fishermen had already been reduced by 90%. (FIS/MP).-