The market for squid is collapsing because of over supply and free fall prices, according to one of Argentina's main squid operators, Guillermo De los Santos, reports the Mar del Plata press.
"We're facing the collapse of the squid market", said De los Santos who added that the main problem is not the abundance of Illex or the "British jiggers' fleet" but "the massive presence of vessels off mile 201". De los Santos claims "over 200 vessels are operating in the fringe of Argentina's EEZ and with their holds fully loaded", of which many then make landings in Argentine ports. "Illex squid this season is between miles 190 and 210 offshore, which means it's at the mercy of the plus 201 mile fleet, which makes landings in our ports, something completely irrational", underlined De los Santos. De los Santos revealed his jigger "Libertad del Mar", with a thousand tons capacity will not be sent to the high seas because "I'm going broke; it's a perverse mechanism: the more you catch, the greater the debt". Apparently whole squid is selling for 400 US dollars the ton, and 700 US dollars classified squid. De los Santos claims high seas jiggers are selling at 400 US dollars the ton, "but with my production costs of 700 to 800 US dollars per ton, I'm going bankrupt. What is happening is total madness". De los Santos is making two proposals to counter increased landings and sliding prices: limit the number of jiggers in the high seas from reaching Argentine ports and unilaterally extend the EEZ to 250 miles offshore, "as has been done by other countries". "We know this won't happen overnight and that the season is lost, but we must plan for the future and impede the collapse of the industry", said De los Santos.