Argentine Coast Guard arrests second Taiwanese poacher; Invasive oyster threatens Gulf of San Matias; Santa Cruz shrimp fishery opens March 1.
Argentine Coast Guard arrests second Taiwanese poacher
A Taiwanese flagged jigger allegedly poaching in the South Atlantic was arrested by the Argentine Coast Guard after intimidating fire. This is the second incident in a week. According to Argentine sources the 35 crew jigger was detected operating in the Isla Rasa area, 199 miles offshore Comodoro Rivadavia, and refused to stop engines when approached by a Coast Guard vessel. Primary reports indicate that "Chich Man 1" was transporting 3,700 boxes of 12,5 kilos each of frozen squid, plus another 68 of fresh squid stored on deck. When the jigger instead of obeying orders tried to flee the Argentine Coast Guard vessel fired intimidating shots. She was then boarded by a party of Argentine sailors and is currently being escorted to Comodoro Rivadavia where the captain will face charges of illegal fishing. Less that a week ago another Taiwanese jigger, "Hsien Hua 6" was caught red-hand poaching in the same area and was by ARA Guerrico and escorted to Puerto Deseado.
Invasive oyster threatens Gulf of San Matias Scientists for the Argentine Institute of Marine and Fisheries Biology "Almirante Storni" confirmed the presence of great numbers of Japanese oyster (Crassostrea gigas) in the Gulf of San Matías, Rio Negro province. Given its invasive conditions, the potential spread of the species has raised concerns about the impact on the mussel populations and other native fauna. The director of the Institute, Raúl González, told the newspaper Río Negro that after prospecting the area of El Cóndor, within the gulf, a large number of oysters were detected. This means there could be "banks near the shoreline and in deeper waters of the northern Gulf of San Matías, which would be a disaster". Japanese oyster is an exotic species resistant to climatic changes and to different salinity concentrations. Moreover, it is a host for strains of virus and parasites like the Bonamia sp, capable of infecting other more vulnerable underwater species and could generate substantial changes in the marine environment of the gulf. "The Crassostrea gigas reproduces rapidly is invasive, displacing the native fauna that reside in the substrata," explained Mr. González. The introduction of this species in the waters of Rio Negro is especially banned by the provincial laws. Although some scientists are in favour of introducing the Japanese oyster as a commercial alternative, the bivalve mollusk fetches very low prices on the market because of its abundance, and therefore holds little interest for fishermen. Mr. González added that "any recovery initiative will be funded by the state and therefore, by the taxpayers, in other words, the residents, since it is very unlikely that any private company would be commercially interested in extracting this species". The province's Fisheries Director, Italo Sangiuliano, said they have been dealing with the issue for years, but "the possibility of Buenos Aires limiting the expansion of the distribution area for this species does not exist". Oscar Echeverría, president of the Rio Negro Ecology and Environment Council, said his office will demand the removal of the San Blas bank or if that fails, implement "an irrational extraction effort of the exotic species until it is depleted". (FIS/MP).
Santa Cruz shrimp fishery opens March 1 The Patagonia provincial government of Santa Cruz decided the shrimp (Pleoticus muelleri) fishery will open next March 1 in jurisdictional waters south of the Gulf of San Jorge. The season is scheduled to last twelve months. Santa Cruz Fisheries and Port Activities Undersecretary, Liliana Scioli announced the opening, together with new fishing regulations, during a meeting with representatives of the Argentine Patagonian Shrimp Chamber (CALAPA) and entrepreneurs from Santa Elena S.A., Pespasa, and Argenova, according to information provided by Pesca y Puertos. Ms. Scioli said that according to Santa Cruz Decree 300/05, vessels of over 15 metres long or 200 HP engine power correspond to "deep-sea fishery" efforts, while "middle-sea fishery" efforts are to be undertaken by vessels of between 12 and 15 metres long or up to 200 HP of engine power. Moreover the fresh fish fleet measuring up to 800 HP of effective motor power will be authorized to operate south of parallel 47Ãâ€šÃ‚Âº South, in the waters between the base line and 12 miles south of parallel 47Ãâ€šÃ‚Âº S. Ms. Scioli also indicated that "total catches will have to be unloaded in Santa Cruz ports" and be processed on land by plants located in Santa Cruz.. (FIS/MP).-