Argentina’s latest government’s decisions on squid fishing show that the country’s fisheries policy is inconsistent and unsustainable, according to the president of Assistance Food Argentina SA and director of Assistance Food America Inc., Dr. Cesar Augusto Lerena.
In an article sent to FIS.com, Lerena argues that it is not possible to think of a sustainable catch of squid (Illex argentinus), and much less that it serves as a tool to recover the Falklands islands, if this indiscriminate policy of transfer of the South Atlantic to foreign hands continue being implemented.
Lerena assesses the Argentine fisheries situation given the sea open status for foreign fleets, particularly, to Chinese jiggers.
Lerena recalls that according to Resolution No. 10/2013, published in August by the Federal Fisheries Council (CFP), Argentina allows access to 20 Chinese jiggers to the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) to catch squid. And he notes that to authorise such move it has been argued that there are sufficient and available surpluses that Argentine flagged jiggers cannot address.
Governments are accustomed to give Argentine fisheries resources to the United Kingdom in the Falklands islands, as well as to the Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Polish, Bulgarian, Japanese, etc. for free; at least nothing that can benefit the Argentine state or domestic activities, and which could ensure the perpetuity of the resources for future generations points out Lerena.
This leads to the conclusion that in Argentina there is no fisheries policy and the rationale to justify the objective is created by the government without taking into account biological, productive or even political rigour.
In reference to resolution 10/2013, Lerena notes that to the fleet of 62 Argentine jiggers, adding 20 more would still “be below the 104 jiggers that the CFP arbitrarily set as a maximum in 2006.
Lerena insists that arguments for the legislation are inconsistent and unsustainable, since it does not take into account several aspects such as:
• The biology and the interrelationship among species;
• Illegal licenses granted by the UK rules Falkland Islands;
• Illegal fishing of a major foreign fleet in the Argentine Sea;
• The migratory and straddling nature of the squid.
With regard to the last item, Lerena explains that squid migrates every year from Argentine waters to offshore and from the Falkland Islands, but then foreign fleets illegally catch the species before it can return to Argentine mainland waters and complete its biological circle.
Lerena argues that if there was a surplus of squid, its capture should be promoted first for the national fleet; after which, it would be possible to deal with the countries concerned (in this case it would be China) establishing two preconditions.
These conditions would be:
• No fishing with British licenses from the Falklands Islands in Argentine waters;
• Being a migratory resource and in observance of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the squid should not be captured at sea without prior agreement with Argentina.
Meanwhile, the Argentine Government provides repeated evidence of inconsistent and unsustainable policies, plus lack of scientific supported plans to defend fisheries’ resources, market competition, Argentine jobs and national sovereignty,” concludes Lerena in his article.