The Argentine Senate unanimously approved the bill which reviews and establishes new values for fines and sanctions for illegal fishing activities in the country's EEZ.
Geared mainly to foreign fishing fleets, the initiative was passed with the 41 votes present in the House, (form the ruling coalition and opposition) replacing the endemically devalued Argentine currency for a Fisheries Unit, FU.
The chair of the Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Committee said that the law has to do mainly with the Argentine sovereignty, defending our resources taking into account the enormous contribution that fisheries have for the production system of Argentina.
The new bill amends some articles of the Fisheries Federal Law 24.992 from 1998, which has the different fines and sanctions specified in Argentine Pesos.
In effect some of the fines, from 5 to 10 million Pesos, as in Article 51, equivalent to 100,000 US dollars are considered too insignificant. And that is why the new drafting establishes values ranging from half a million to three million liters of gas oil, which is equivalent to a minimum of US$ 1,1 million to US$ 6,5 million according to fuel market values.
Thus from now on fines will be established in what has been called Fisheries Unit, UP, linked to the cost of a liter of fuel.
When the infringement refers to fishing without a license, or lacking an ITQ, or operating in a banned area, the minimum fine will not be below 3,000 UPs, points out the new bill.
The Argentine government expects that this level of fines will have a strong dissuasive effect for the fleet of jiggers and trawlers marauding at mile 201. It will also generate a sufficient compensation for government resources if a vessel is caught illegally fishing.
The bill also contemplates that the owner of the vessel caught poaching can be demanded for the costs of the operation and escort to port, besides the fines imposed.