Argentina rewards those who plunder their seas
Friday, May 15, 2020, 16:00 (GMT + 9)
7.5 million pesos is the insignificant fine that the national government would apply to the Chinese ship Lu Rong Yuan Yu 668 for fishing illegally in Argentine waters. The offending Chinese company may also access discounts and installment payments.
Illegal fishing in waters under Argentine jurisdiction does not constitute a criminal offense, it is only an administrative violation of the provisions of Chapter XIII on Infractions and Sanctions of the Federal Fishing Regime, regulated by Law 24,922.
Every sanctioning scheme assumes two axes as fundamental objectives. On the one hand, applying a sanction to an individual or organization that infringes the regulations, and when it is a pecuniary fine, the other purpose of its application, is that this punishment, in addition, to repair or compensate the damage, has the effect ' discourage 'such practices and' discourage 'non-compliance with established rules. Except in Argentina.
Argentinean authorities visit the HQ of the monitoring fishing center (Photo: Revista Puerto)
56 thousand dollars
The insignificant fine of 7.5 million pesos to be paid by the Chinese shipbuilding company represents, if we take yesterday's (real) exchange rate, just 56 thousand dollars. Therefore, neither of the two precepts of the sanctioning system is followed: the damage is not repaired or compensated, nor is the behavior of illegal fishing discouraged or discouraged. Rather the complete opposite.
Ergo, the benevolence of local legislation and regulations “rewards” those who plunder the seas of Argentina. Here, the inexcusable political responsibility lies with the successive national governments, as well as with Parliament, which have done nothing to update the laws that repress illegal fishing practices.
Not hardening the current legislation, nor updating the ridiculous amounts of the fines is pending matter, which cannot be postponed, both by the Executive Power and the National Congress.
The effort and risk assumed by the personnel of the Naval Prefecture, such as that of the Argentine Navy, when patrolling the 200-mile line of the EEZ, as well as pursuing and capturing foreign offending ships, does not have its counterpart in the Dismissive approach that the political power has been making, over the years, regarding this problem of the looting of Argentine fishing resources by the foreign fleet.
The PNA and the Navy, in addition to sufficient resources for the effective fulfillment of their task, require the institutional support of superiority, which must be accompanied by a real political decision to combat illegal fishing by the authorities on duty, and should be a state policy that transcends circumstantial governments.
Photo: Argentina Coast Guard
Interdict in Golfo Nuevo
Last night, at press time, the jigger Lu Rong Yuan Yu 668 had already entered the New Gulf and was approaching the harbor of Puerto Madryn, under the strict custody of Coast Guard GC-28 Prefect Derbes, with the support of Coast Guard GC -65 Martín García and the SR9202 Hurricane patrol boat, stationed in the vicinity of where the offender will be anchored.
The procedure foresees, in the next few hours, that the captain of the Chinese fishing vessel detected on April 28, 2020, illegally fishing within the ZEEA, will be taken a statement, since he is personally charged with the crime of 'resistance to the authority 'that is processed before the Court of First Instance No. 2 of Rawson, in charge of Judge Gustavo Lleral.
Photo: Armada Argentina (Navy)
At the same time, through the administrative channel, PNA personnel will inspect the ship's holds, as well as the documentation that will then be sent to the National Undersecretariat of Fisheries, who will determine the amount of the fine for the violation of the Federal Regime of Fishing.
Who are they
The Lu Rong Yuan Yu 668 (IMO: 8775871) (MMSI: 412331076) is a fishing vessel registered and sailing under the flag of China. It was built in 2015 and is operated by Rongcheng Rongyuan Fishery Co Ltda., Which is headquartered in Weihai, China.
The company operates in the fishing sector and was established on January 16, 2002. Like most of the foreign fleet that operates on the edge of the 200 miles of Argentine waters, it has an operational base in the port of Montevideo; port that has become in recent years one of the main logistics centers to support fleets operating uncontrollably in the South Atlantic.
The pending debate
However, the ship that allegedly ran away and now decided to voluntarily enter the law, could be released in a few days, after its owner, who hired a law firm in Buenos Aires, paid the fine; eventually pay the amount of the squid you had in the hold, if you have not already transferred at sea, and pay the expenses caused by your pursuit, transfer and escort until you leave the 200 miles and return to international waters.
This new episode should not be anecdotal, but rather the hinge for the government and the National Congress to advance in a serious and responsible debate on the need to toughen sanctioning legislation and update the amounts of the derisory fines so that, in this way, loot the Argentine Sea is not punished with a handful of coins.