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Dr. Pablo García Borboroglu, today a candidate for the 'Nobel Prize' for Conservation.Image: Revista Puerto / FIS

Pablo García Borboroglu: ´What happens outside milepost 200 is an environmental problem of colossal scale´

Click on the flag for more information about Argentina ARGENTINA
Thursday, March 23, 2023, 01:10 (GMT + 9)

Conservationist García Borboroglu raised the need for an urgent approach to the effects of IUU fishing on marine ecosystems. He considers that the 'Ocean Treaties' is a first step "in the international regulation of these fisheries", although he warns that it will be for the long term.

The biologist and researcher Dr. Pablo García Borboroglu, today a candidate for the 'Nobel Prize' for Conservation, analyzed the impact on marine ecosystems caused by illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and the threats it represents for the conservation of ocean biodiversity.

The founder and president of the Global Penguin Society participated days before in the flight, organized by the NGO Solidaire led by the filmmaker Enrique Piñeyro, over the limit of the Exclusive Economic Zone (ZEE), and shared his impressions and reflections on that scourge with Revista Puerto What happens in the South Atlantic?

"Visualizing this fleet in a personal way is very overwhelming, seeing the scale, one takes dimension of what is usually seen in photos, but we must not lose focus and this is only part of the problem," warned the PhD specialist in Biological Sciences.

“On the one hand, this fishery in international waters is not regulated or reported, therefore, there are no real data on the volume of capture; there is talk of estimates, and with this imprecise information it is very difficult to work", he affirmed while considering that "there are other fisheries that are very harmful, that damage the seabed, that use other fishing gear that damages other species, others that have high percentages of discards. What happens beyond mile 200 is a black hole, and there is no reliable information, ”he graphed, highlighting the lack of validated data.

"Danger to the ecosystem"

Source: Greenpeace

García Borboroglu mentioned that "there is a possible overexploitation of this resource such as squid, but other fleets operate there, not just jiggers, there are others that also cause damage to other species, and it cannot be measured without data, but they represent a danger to the ecosystem," he said.

Within this framework, he maintained that “although the jiggers go over a resource, those boats and in that quantity, have a lot of loss of lines with jiggers, which end up being ghost nets that end up affecting other species. With all that lack of control, the effect cannot be magnified. Here, not only certain species are damaged, but the marine ecosystem is endangered,” he insisted, emphasizing the underlying issue.

Unregulated fisheries cause harmful effects to the system, "not only squid, I understand that seeing this jig fleet concentrated at mile 200 produces a very strong press effect, but in reality there are also other fisheries that are very harmful and are not he pays the same attention. You have to have a global view of the problem”, affirmed the CONICET researcher, and mentioned that “in other parts of the world there are organizations that have helped to establish a certain order and control among countries. Argentina unfortunately has not been able to move in that direction,” he described.

The Ocean Treaty, a first step


Image: Revista Puerto / Prefectura Naval Argentina / Wiki / FIS

Likewise, he differentiated what happens in international waters and "what happens inside mile 200 within the ZEE, where Argentina has patrol vessels that seek to dissuade the entry of ships, and when they enter they engage in illegal fishing, while they are outside they do not are liable to sanction. Biologically, the effect on the resource is very strong, and given this lack of management for so long, the dangers are more evident", said García Borboroglu, who is also a member of the 'Forum for the Conservation of the Patagonian Sea and Areas of Influence' .

"Sometimes it is thought that the problem is only when a boat illegally enters Argentine waters to fish, but biologically the biggest problem is outside mile 200, due to the scale in which the resource is affected," he added while analyzing that in In the long term, “hopefully this declaration of the 'Ocean Treaty' will allow us to start pushing for the international regulation of these fisheries, but we must know that this will take a long time. This requires a commitment from the countries associated with the resource, and Argentina, due to the sovereignty conflict, has had difficulties moving forward,” he pointed out.

"It's a sea of no one"

Mariana Zuvic is a National Deputy for the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires

The biologist was part of the contingent that flew over the area along with journalists, influencers, legislators, among others. “This flight allows us to see the scale of what is happening, it is good to make the problem visible, to keep it on the public agenda, but it would be better, and we could help, to target the real focus of the problem,” he stated.

“There are campaigns out there that are very populist, politically visible, and I don't know if that really helps. Vessels illegally entering the EEZ are only part of the problem; Biologically, the enormous damage to the ecosystem occurs outside mile 200 ”, he reasoned, directing his gaze to what was relevant.

“What happens outside of mile 200 is an environmental problem of colossal scale. That is the focus that we must not lose sight of. The lack of scientific data makes us walk blindly. Without regulation and control, it is a sea of no one”, warned the prestigious researcher.

By Nelson Saldivia | Revista Puerto

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