Asian jiggers operating in South Atlantic international waters could end unloading and exporting short-fin squid from the Patagonian port of Comodoro Rivadavia, according to local port authorities.
Although current regulations from Argentina's Health and Food Quality National Service, Senasa, prevents these type of operations Chubut province authorities are confident that negotiations with the federal government will be successful opening the way for Asian jiggers to operate from provincial ports, mainly Comodoro Rivadavia. Senasa officials explained that currently enforced health norms prohibit the unloading of squid for land transport from Puerto Deseado or Puerto Madryn, with export market destinations. One of the problems is the absence of a sanitary treaty with the Asian fleets' places of origin, which impedes controls over the holds and thus catches. "Senasa norms prevent trucks from road transportation of products without previous knowledge of cargoes' sanitary conditions" according to reports in Comodoro Rivadavia" Diario Cronica. However this inconvenience could be solved if Comodoro Rivadavia received a more intense flow of merchant vessels and thus a greater traffic of containers in the docks. "Asian vessels present sanitary risks, beginning with specific diseases, known by all, but for which we do not presently have the means to carry out checks and controls in their holds" according to sources quoted in Diario Cronica. Though there are still differences between Asian fishing fleet owners and merchants, port authorities trust that an agreement can be reached which would be of benefit for all jiggers. For the moment, the Asian fleet could begin operating in Puerto Madryn, but the maritime agents that represent them in Argentina have expressed interest in working from Comodoro Rivadavia port. One of the possible solutions would be for Senasa to issue a norm allowing its inspectors the verification of the Asian squid jiggers' holds. Once sanitary and safety conditions of the holds have been checked and approved, landings of products and their transportation to the wished ports could be implemented. (FIS/MP).