The Argentine magazine Puerto, which specializes in reporting on fisheries and ports exposed a video from a trawler crewmember in which it shows tons of hake discards dumped back into the sea, which is in violation of Argentine law and rules.
However it is not an isolated incident, in effect allegedly INIDEP, Mar del Plata's Fisheries Research Institute has admitted in its minutes that thousands of tons of hubbsi hake are discarded annually, and this should be sufficient for the Fisheries Under Secretariat and the Fisheries Federal Council to take action against this practice.
Puerto magazine points out that some 30,000 tons are discarded during the shrimp season and 80,000 tons at the hubbsi hake fisheries, an illegal situation that occurs despite the Federal Fisheries bill in its Article 21.
Dumping fish back to the sea is illegal and ethically reproachable because of the harm to the environment and the irrational waste of fishing resources. It is very serious but the absence of specific punishment for those involved keeps the negative practice ongoing.
Pablo Filippo a solicitor from the Wildlife Foundation said that from the available minutes of the Fisheries Federal Council, there is not much mention of discards, and also speaks of a legal vacuum.
Apparently based on the hake discards are close to 30% of the Maximum Allowable Catch, and the fact that fisheries inspectors on board the vessels are also part of the problem makes the situation even more difficult.
The video from the trawler El Marisco II and taken by the Chief Officer show good sized hake and shrimp dumped into the sea, and also had an inspector on board, who was completely absent from the practice.
Discards plus the use of non appropriate fishing nets or selective gear are a very serious crime and should be reported to authorities ordering the vessel to return to port and be sanctioned. But nothing of this happens
Puerto finishes the article saying that as long as the onboard inspectors are financed by the private sector, the chances of this practice continuing in some fishing vessels is guaranteed. A remote monitoring system with cameras is the solution to avoid such problems and cutting corners. But the implementation has been delayed for over a decade, with no one giving a convincing explanation. (FIS)