Saturday, June 5th 2010 - 05:10 UTC

Argentina’s commercial hake fishery has “two years left”

Over the last 20 years abundance of common hake (Merluccius hubbsi) has declined 80% in the Southwest Atlantic as a result of over-fishing, claims Argentina’s Fundación Vida Silvestre, Wild Life Foundation, (FVSA).

According to official Argentine data, 61% of hake landings are juveniles

The NGO also warns that currently 61% of hake catches is Argentina are made up of juveniles, a trend that if allowed to continue would lead to the collapse of the fishery in less than two years times.

For this reason, FVSA has launched a campaign urging Argentine consumers to only buy hake fillets of more than 25 centimetres in length.

FVSA also is critical of the latest measures announced by the Argentine government and the lack of control over the fleet targeting shrimp (Pleoticus muelleri), which discards hundreds of tons of juvenile hake during that activity in the South Atlantic.

“Boats that catch shrimp in the San Jorge gulf annually discard between 40,000 and 50,000 tons of hake which do not appear in the statistics” underlines Guillermo Cañete, coordinator of the Marine Programme and a FVSA fisheries scientist.

”Fishing specimens that do not reach 34 centimetres in length are a phenomenal waste of biological production and reproductive capital” stresses Cañete.

As to the future and the outlook for the industry, Cañete anticipates that “fish are not going to disappear, but rather the fishermen, because if the resource descends beyond a certain level, the activity simply turns non profitable” points out FVSA expert.

Hake which is Argentina’s main seafood resource represented 40% of total seafood landings in 2007, a third of the country’s exports and 60% of the industry’s jobs.

FVSA statements are supported by reports from Argentina’s National Institute for Fisheries Research and Development, (INIDEP) which show that last year catch totals revealed worrisome figures: 61% of hake landings were juveniles and only 39% adults.

“Current business is based on juveniles. We cannot catch more fish than those that renew every year and less still if they do not have time to reproduce, simply because the biomass capital in the water declines and finally runs out. If those fish are left in the sea for another year, they double weight, which represents an additional 70 million USD in revenue. The fishing industry and fishermen should be the first to understand that if there are no fish, there is no money” underlined Cañete.

”We need a hake recovery plan, an emergency plan to help consolidate the entire seafood sector and a new model of fishery management that promotes fishing development and conservation. Obviously, some of the decisions that must be taken will have an impact on industry, but it is preferable to fish 30% less and not a 100% in just two years at the most”, stressed Cañete.

Meanwhile, the Argentine Fisheries and Aquaculture Secretariat revealed that 92.418 tons of hake were landed between 1 January and 28 May in Argentine ports. This represents a drop of 21.3% compared to the same period a year ago with 117.920 tons.

Of total landings this year, 84.523 tons were captured south of parallel 41° and 7.895 tons to the north. (FIS/MP).-

7 comments Feed

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1 jorge! (#) Jun 05th, 2010 - 09:35 pm Report abuse
You have to add to the article that we cannot control the pirate ships fishing in our waters with UK protection.
2 J.A. Roberts (#) Jun 06th, 2010 - 11:23 am Report abuse
Jorgebobo, nobody fishes in your waters with UK protection. What an absurd statement to make...
3 Hoytred (#) Jun 07th, 2010 - 07:45 am Report abuse
Can't the Argentine fishermen buy licences from the Falkland Islands so they can fish in British waters ? :-)
4 Rhaurie-Craughwell (#) Jun 07th, 2010 - 04:39 pm Report abuse
Jigaboo, this Hake collapse is in Argentine waters not Falklands ones, you see the Falklands have this fishery protection and sustainability programme which means they let in who they want and when they want, and make sure those who have liscences stick to the agreement in what is regarded alongside the nordic countries the most strictly controlled fishing regime in the world

Argentina however does not have the benefit of such a sophisticated policy because unlike the Falklands a majority of Argentines do not rely upon fishing as a staple diet nor even a living, whereas the Falklands do, so thus no incentive to control an industry which benefits a small % of Argentina.

Sorry Jorgeboo this is Argentina's own doing, if you take out more from the sea for maximum profit without any proper control or regulation it goes wrong.

Perhaps in this case Jorgeboo when this fishing sector has collapsed in Argentina, a more open minded willing Argentine government will accept offers from “Pirate” expertise to make sure you don' commit self inflicted environmental catastrophe like your country has done?

Call them Pirates all you want but the facts speak for themselves the “pirates and squatters” have sustained a profitable industry for over 20 years within a smaller area and latest figures show that fish stocks in the islands have been maintained at 80% continually in that period, whereas you have depleted yours by that number in the same period in an area 10 times the size.

ps Pirates and squatters don't fish Hake, they fish squid LOL you are none to bright and a failed medical experiment JIgaboo :)
5 agent0060 (#) Jun 07th, 2010 - 05:48 pm Report abuse
Could someone explain why it is appropriate for FVSA to urge Argentine consumers not to buy hake fillets less than 25cm in length? By the time the consumer gets around to making a purchase decision the fish is already dead, no matter what length it is? Surely it would be better to simply close down specific hake fishing for, say, 5 years? For that period, the hake caught during shrimp fishing and, apparently, discarded could be landed instead.
6 Tim (#) Jun 08th, 2010 - 01:11 am Report abuse
Jorge - dont forget WHO walked out and away from the joint fisheries conservation agreements and meetings covering fishing in the South West Atlantic? Who cancelled their participation in joint research fishing trials at the start of each season to monitor stocks on the high seas and in BOTH zones? I,ll give you a clue - the name began with K...!
And all this work was about CONSERVATION - nothing to do with politics. A nation gets the harvest it sows.
That same nation even tries tricks to get us excluded from international fisheries conventions and dare not admit that the Falklands is a world leader in slashing seabird mortality by fishing vessels. Albatross deaths are now down to virtually zero on our side.
7 alexius (#) Jun 11th, 2010 - 09:28 pm Report abuse
1# Jorge...
All my investigations and informations tells me , that the people in Falkland Islands protect their environment and nature in a most admirable way. (maximum priority, because they know the value a clean , non-pollutioned and non-exploited environment ,means so much to them , and they want it to continue and be inherited by the next generations!)
If i am wrong please tell (remember examples and argumentations and FACTS!)
Do you have good arguments and facts, which prove otherwise?

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