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Lights of squid jigging vessels obtained by NASA outside the Argentine limit

Restlessness at mile 201, where about twenty spanish boats fishing squid

Click on the flag for more information about Argentina ARGENTINA
Monday, February 12, 2018, 20:00 (GMT + 9)

All countries have a mile 201 - which marks the end of the sea itself and the beginning of international waters - but none as conflicting as Argentina's. A failure in one of the GPS, just the one that used the fishing pattern to keep in mind the border of the 200 miles of exclusive economic zone (EEZ), ended with the seizure of the Galician fishery Playa Pesmar Uno, of the Mariners Fisheries Society, de Marín, for entering only half a kilometer in Argentine waters. And all for a deviation "no longer degrees, but seconds of degree" that confused the one who was at the controls of the trawler, explained Javier Touza, president of the Shipowners Cooperative of Vigo (Arvi).

Playa Pesmar Uno is one of the twenty fishing vessels attached to the entity that make balances on the edge of the Argentine maritime border to fish for squid. Boats that now follow with attention the luck of the trawler of Marín at the same time that extreme caution and prudence in an area in which work in tension. Tension for the competition, given that in that area almost 300 or 400 boats, of many and very different flags, but mainly Asian, are working almost in elbows, each looking for space. Tension for not entering a quarter of a mile in the exclusive waters. And tension for the presence of Argentine patrols demanding that the fishermen identify themselves. "You work in very stressful conditions," explains Touza, whose shipbuilder also has boats on the edge of Argentine waters.

The squid (Illex argentinus) is one of the most abundant cephalopods in the South West Atlantic. And the highest concentrations occur in the platform and the Argentine continental slope. It is born close to the coast and grows within the waters of the Andean country, but as it matures it goes to deep waters, it abandons the 200 Argentine miles and enters international waters. There the foreign fleet awaits, which has only three months, which is what lasts the harvest, to capture it, which adds another degree to the tension.

A whole cohort of boats whose lights, which are used to attract the squid at night, are appreciable from space, as shown by photographs provided by NASA.

                               

Argentina and the Argentines consider the squid theirs, even though they swim in international waters when they fall into the nets of Spanish trawlers. And more resentment causes that many of those boats act with licenses of the Falkland Islands, that the EU considers like part of its territory in spite of the dispute by its sovereignty with UK. If to those the action of Asian ships is added, some of dubious legal operation, the controversy is served. "There is strong pressure on the part of public opinion for the authorities to act forcefully to protect resources," says Alberto Penelas, lawyer for the shipowner of Playa Pesmar Uno. Hence, it is "so hard" to negotiate with Argentina, he explains. Penelas, already tanned in three previous catches.

By E. ABUÍN / LA VOZ | lavozdegalicia.es


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