The President of the Spanish Association of Marine Fishing Officers (Aetinape), José Manuel Muniz, has asked the new Spanish government to get involved and act against the pressure placed on Falklands-flagged vessels by the Argentines, according to an article in the Galician newspaper Faro de Vigo, which examined the Spanish reaction to the ban on the entry of Falklands flagged vessels to Mercosur ports.
Mr Muniz described the port blockage as “worrying,” and “blackmail” stating that Argentina had no right to make fishermen victims of their sovereignty claim over the Falklands. He believed the Mercosur agreement set a bad precedent which in the future could affect the twenty or so Spanish vessels fishing on their coasts.
According to the author, while the ban was expected, it leaves the 18 Spanish-owned ships which fish under the Falklands flag “in a bit of a fix.” The ratification of the agreement by Brazil, which had been regarded as providing a possible alternative to Montevideo, was particularly bad news.
While the Galician companies affected were avoiding making statements about the situation, other sources in the sector were beginning to look for solutions from the British Foreign Office and the Falkland Islands authorities.
Sources from the fishing sector referred to the British Government’s official statement that the Mercosur blockade of Falkland flagged vessels was “worrying” and “unjustified”. Some elements of the Vigo fishing community thought that the Mercosur action might have been prompted by accusations from the Westminster opposition that British defense cuts had led to a weakening of Britain’s naval capacity.
They were worried about the implications for the Spanish fishing fleet of a possible increase in the British military presence in Falklands.
Other elements of the fishing community felt that the solution might be for Britain to emphasize with the European Union the importance of the agreements and commercial relations with Mercosur, which could lead to a worrying kind of blackmail. (Penguin News)
Muniz described the port blockage as “worrying,” and “blackmail