The Argentine National Undersecretary of Fishery and Aquaculture has authorised the extraction of 69,200 tonnes of Argentine hake (hubbsi) during the first three months of 2004 for vessels operating to the south of parallel 41Ãâ€šÃ‚Âº S.
According to the head of the department, Gerardo Nieto, this ruling - Resolution SAGPyA 73/04 - aims to adjust decree 189/99, which declared a fishing emergency for hake, in accordance with the Federal Fishing Law 24,922.
The official highlighted that this new norm will make the preservation of available resources possible, although it will not involve establishing quotas.
Nieto is confident that the new Regime of Transferable Individual Quotas will be put into effect within the first three months of 2004, but admits that this will be "an arduous and difficult process" and will require changes in management.
Resolution 73/04 states that out of the 69,200 tonnes authorised for extraction, 33,640 tonnes correspond to fresh fish vessels, 24,923 tonnes for freezer vessels and 837 tonnes for the so-called yellow fleet, made up from shallower draft vessels.
The new ruling also assigns 3,500 tonnes to the province of Buenos Aires; 1,700 to Chubut; more than 2,300 tonnes to be distributed among the yellow vessels; 1,700 tonnes to Santa Cruz; and 600 tonnes to Rio Negro.
Nieto stated that these catch totals were set according to catch histories and labour criteria, and highlighted that this distribution method "will reduce the number of appeals against discrimination filed by many companies."
The resolution authorises 14 vessels to fish Argentine hake to the north of parallel 48Ãâ€šÃ‚Âº S, something they were already able to do thanks to controversial appeals. These vessels were only authorised to operate south of this parallel in order to preserve a species which had deteriorated due to overexploitation in the 90's.
In 2003, 290,000 tonnes of hake were caught, 80,000 tonnes of which were fished by vessels that had filed an appeal in the Court of Justice. "This norm allows us to amend the argument that led to the appeals," said the official. (FIS/MP).-