At least seventeen long-liners which international organizations for the conservation of marine living resources claim are involved in illegal, unreported and/or undeclared fishing have been normally operating in the port of Montevideo since 1996.
According to the Uruguayan press since the Uruguayan Fisheries "D" licences for international waters became available, "mafias" of Spanish, Chilean and Russian origin that trade particularly with the valuable Patagonian and Antarctic toothfish have chosen Montevideo as a base for their activities.
It was only four years after taking office, and several international incidents with Uruguayan flagged vessels, that Uruguayan Fisheries Director Captain Yamandú Flangini seems to have become aware of the seriousness of the matter, highlights the Uruguayan press.
Among those Uruguayan flagged vessels caught poaching are the "Arvisa 1", "Dorita", "Carrán" and most recently the "Viarsa 1" (an anagram for Vidal Armadores S.A) and the "Maya V", both belonging to the same company Navelmar and awaiting trial in Australia for allegedly illegally fishing in Australia's EEZ.
Captain Flangini only recently revealed that six of those vessels involved in IUU incidents had their Uruguayan licences revoked ("Atlantic 52"; "Dorita"; "Eclipse 11"; "Lugalpesca"; "Mar de Escocia; "Sherpa Uno") and that Navelmar, a joint venture with Vidal Armadores SA from Galicia is in the process of being excluded from the Uruguayan registrar.
The Uruguayan press also indicated that besides poaching, manipulating satellite position and adulterating the books, several of the Uruguayan flagged vessels don't even respect the 50% Uruguayan crew demanded by the D licence contract conditions.
"Strong financial support, political influence and a web of former officials closely linked to Spanish fishing interests" have impeded a cleansing of the industry.
Former Navy Captain Flangini under Uruguay's electoral system is second in line to Uruguayan Congressman García Pintos, one of President Jorge Batlle main spoke persons in law and order and sovereignty issues. Mr. García Pintos also has close links with Fraga Iribarne the president of the Galician Xunta who undisputedly dominates Galicia's politics and economy since Franco's time and masterminded the emergence in politics of the current re-elected Spanish president José Aznar.
The seventeen longliners listed by the Uruguayan press linked to Montevideo are: "Viarsa 1"; "Atlantic 52"; "Carran"; "Dorita"; "Isabel"; "Eva 1"; "Elqui"; "Eclipse 11"; "Lugalpesca"; "Mar de Escocia"; "Maya V"; "Mila"; "Piscis"; "Sherpa Uno"; "Ural"; Arvisa 1"; "Viola".