Photo: courtesy Revista Puerto
Patagonian deputies call for tougher measures against illegal fishing
Wednesday, April 07, 2021, 01:00 (GMT + 9)
They demand that the national government intensify patrols over mile 200 near the Golfo San Jorge. They demand urgent measures to discourage the foreign fleet from entering the EEZ, which currently has around 400 ships operating on the edge of Argentine waters. They propose to increase the fines to $ 1.2 million.
The Chubut national deputy, Gustavo Menna, together with his Patagonian counterparts Lorena Matzen (Río Negro) and Roxana Reyes (Santa Cruz), asked the National Executive Power to take urgent measures and intensify the patrols with all the means at its disposal to discourage the presence in the Exclusive Economic Zone of foreign vessels without fishing permits, in order to protect resources and guarantee sovereignty at sea.
The request, through a draft resolution, was triggered by the recent dissemination of images, through social networks and local and national media, in which it was observed, based on overflights made by individuals, the proliferation of vessels of different foreign flags without authorization in the Exclusive Economic Zone.
Through the project, Menna, Matzen and Reyes requested the Central Government "the adoption of effective defense measures of the Argentine Sea and its fishing resources against the incursion into the Exclusive Economic Zone of foreign fishing vessels without fishing permits granted by the Republic Argentina".
In particular, they asked to deploy and use "for this defensive purpose all available naval, air, electronic and satellite means of patrolling, deterrence, persecution and capture to guarantee national sovereignty and the protection of the natural resources existing in our sea."
"A fleet of almost 400 fishing vessels of foreign registration that do not have fishing permits granted by the Argentine Republic is operating in the Argentine Sea near the San Jorge Gulf," they observed.
Legislators indicated that although the fleet operates beyond mile 200, "it has been detected entering the Exclusive Economic Zone of our country, making such activity illegal."
“This modality of being located in the outer limit of the Exclusive Economic Zone and carrying out furtive incursions and without permission in the Argentine fishing ground demands the greatest effort of vigilance and defense of these resources. Not only is a question of preservation of the resource at stake and what this implies in economic terms, but also of national sovereignty ”, they stated.
In this regard, they mentioned, among other information, that the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) approved on November 22, 2009, the “Agreement on Port State Measures aimed at preventing, discouraging and eliminating illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing ”(IUU Fishing)
. This agreement “discourages all support for fleets that, such as the one that operates at mile marker 201, do not respect the opening and closing dates of seasons or juveniles, enter the territorial sea illegally and carry out predatory activity without respect for any regulations or regulations. the obligations assumed before the international community by the States of their respective flags ”
In this context, they also recalled that on August 19 of last year 2020, they presented, with the accompaniment of several legislators from other provinces, a bill, under file 4276-D-2020, "in which we encouraged the incorporation of specific and more aggravated fines for fishing carried out by foreign vessels without a permit set in Argentine Gold Pesos ”. It is, they explained, "a unit of value that is also used by the Navigation Law and that prevents the amounts lost from becoming outdated due to inflation."
“We support,” they added, “the need for the Federal Fishing Regime to establish an aggravated fine for foreign vessels that fish illegally in the Argentine Sea”, since, they said, “the values established by the reform carried out by law 27,564 continue to be ineffective to discourage these practices, in addition to being unfair that the same sanctioning scale is applied that is used for national flag vessels ”.
"For this reason, we proposed incorporating Article 51 bis into Law 24,522 for such cases, establishing fines of 1,000 to 5,000 Argentine Gold Pesos, which at its current price implies the equivalent of fines of between US $ 250,000 and US $ 1,250,000" , they specified.
Protection of Argentine labor
Menna, Matzen and Reyes stated that "a regulation of this nature constitutes a mandate derived from the principle of sustainable development established in Article 41 of the National Constitution as a guideline for the rational use of natural resources and the preservation of biological diversity", and also for "the protection of Argentine labor, which makes the social and economic dimension of sustainability."
However, they emphasized, "no legal norm will be effective to discourage illegal fishing if effective and sustained patrol tasks are not carried out using all available naval, air, electronic and satellite means."