Saturday, June 21st 2008 - 21:00 UTC

Argentina bans all fishing in S. Atlantic Burwood Bank

Argentina banned all fishing activities to the south of the Falkland/Malvinas Islands and to the east of the Isla de los Estados in an area dominated by the Burwood bank. The ban, “total and permanent” was decided to preserve biodiversity in the area and in the framework of commitments agreed with FAO.

The announcement on Friday at the Coast Guard building in Buenos Aires was done by Romina Picolotti, Environment and Sustainable Development Secretary, during the official presentation of the work and conclusions of the Coastal Contamination Prevention and Management of Marine Biology Diversity Project sponsored by Argentina's Fisheries Department, Federal Fisheries Council and Coast Guard. "This is the first time that Argentina bans totally and permanently fishing activities in a sector east of the Isla de los Estados", said Picolotti who added this "is a also very important sovereignty act, and the recognition of our resources further off-shore in the Atlantic ocean". "After much effort the Federal Fisheries Council decided the total ban given the extreme vulnerability of the marine biodiversity in the area", she added. Picolotti said the Burwood bank, latitude 54, 25 and longitude 59, 0 remains in a privileged preservation condition, with cold water corals, highly sensitive and of slow growth, which have developed there because of the optimal presence of nutrients. The protected area is approximately 600 nautical square miles or 150.000 hectares, --surrounded by a very intense fishing activityâ€"and is in line with the UN biological diversity directives. The initiative is also part of what has been identified as the Marine Patagonia Project, which not only preservers vulnerable biodiversity but also is geared to prevent and mitigates coastal contamination. A first chapter of this project consists in the elaboration of a diagnosis on the effluents dumped into the sea by the fisheries industry in Puerto Deseado. The project includes all Patagonian provinces: Chubut, Tierra del Fuego, Santa Cruz, Rio Negro, Tierra del Fuego and the South Atlantic islands.

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