A strong reaction from the Argentine squid industry following news published in Buenos Aires media indicated some Patagonian port were considering, and could be prepared to service the Chinese jigger fleet operating in mile 201 of the Argentine EEZ.
Dario Sócrate, president of CAPA, the Chamber of Argentine Jiggers, brought up the issue saying that an article published in La Nacion, mentioned that the ports of Comodoro Rivadavia, Chubut province and Rio Grande in Tierra del Fuego were assessing the possibility of granting Chinese jiggers docking and other services. Jiggers which operate in the very thin legal demarcation line of mile 201, but that also have the habit of following the squid into the Argentine EEZ.
The concern was made public in a letter addressed to Carlos Liberman, Fisheries Under Secretary requesting that any such future alternative in that direction be rejected, and signed by the different organizations and groupings linked to the squid industry, CEPA, CAIPA, CAPECA, CAPA, UDIPA, Cafrexport, CAPIC, all members of the umbrella all Fisheries Chambers' association.
The foreign fleet involves hundreds of jiggers, whole many lights can be spotted at night, looking like a huge city and which are of most concern to all our organizations, according to Socrate.
It is most surprising that this fleet is now considered friendly, and we should supply them with all the services they demand, so they can better operate, despite the fact they belong to companies that do not comply with Argentine rules in fishing and effectively compete with Argentine produce in the same markets, in many cases under slave working conditions for crews, ignoring international and overall regulations.
We believe the whole initiative is absurd; we would be promoting a sort of usurpation of Argentine marine resources, since many of those vessels operate with illegal licenses extended by the illegitimate British government in the Malvinas (Falklands) Islands. In other words we would be supporting the usurpation. We expect the Argentine government to act and adopt the necessary measures.
The letter further on mentions that the fisheries organizations are aware that provinces need all that support and supply activities so as to create new jobs, but we only pretend that they not interfere against the main interest of Argentine foreign policy
The more than 500 vessels operating in the South Atlantic, mainly under Chinese flag, but also from Taiwan, Korea, Spain, etc, do not operate illegally according to their point of view but effectively do ignore regulations.
The problem is that international rules must be established and agreed by the coastal countries involved, but in the case of the Argentine government, sitting to hold negotiations would mean de facto acceptance of British sovereignty and the usurpation of the Malvinas.
Summing up the president of CAPA, Socrate, pointed out that the alleged intentions of Rio Grande and Comodoro Rivadavia ports, will only favor illegal fishing, servicing a fleet of thieves and poachers, promoting an industry against Argentine fishing interests, challenging Argentine rules in the Argentine Sea.
We are not trying to impede Rio Grande from creating jobs, but we believe it is madness that the few jobs to be created with the illegal fishing by poachers openly leads us to dismiss all Argentine rules.
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