En Notas

TWO THOUSAND UNCONTROLLED FISHING VESSELS IN THE PORT OF MONTEVIDEO

Of that total, 700 vessels illegally capture Argentine fishing resources in the Malvinas, and migratory resources from the EEZ of both countries on the high seas.

21 de August de 2023 12:29

The Port of Montevideo, the center of complaints about human rights violations, deaths and other crimes that occurred in the South Atlantic, which its authorities would be covering up in 25 years of irregular fishing.

For decades we have been writing about Argentina's inability or disinterest in controlling illegal fishing in the South Atlantic. Similarly, months ago, we referred to the support of the Port of Montevideo for illegal fishing carried out by Chinese, Spanish-British, Korean and , Taiwanese.

Today, the Internal Audit of the Nation of Uruguay ratifies our statements in detail. Montevideo would be a sieve for illegal fishing and organized crime. It would be good to have an audit of equal rigor of the operations of the Undersecretariat of Fisheries of Argentina and the ports Argentines.   

We denounce then that more than 700 foreign fishing vessels operating in the Port of Montevideo illegally capture Argentine fishing resources in the Malvinas and migratory resources originating from the EEZ of both countries on the high seas; violating -Uruguay- the CELAC declarations of 2011 and 2014; the UNASUR Res. of Asunción of 3/17/2012, etc. and the Treaty of the Río de la Plata of 1973/4. In this Port the fuel is replaced; crew members are replaced; catches are transhipped; food and supplies are assembled and replenished; etc. from vessels that fish illegally. Operations that would represent Uruguay an income of 300 million dollars annually ( Baubeta Mario; Mercopress, 12/20/11 ), although violating all regulations.  

We also remember that the three coastal states of eastern South America (Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay) signed the “South Atlantic Peace and Cooperation Zone” and that this is the appropriate area to also address issues related to slave labor. , smuggling and drug trafficking that, behind the lack of control in ports, go hand in hand with illegal fishing.

For his part, on March 29, 2023 ( Radio Sarandí ) Jaime Coronel, the director of the National Directorate of Aquatic Resources (DINARA) stated that " the port of Montevideo is safe and no illegal fishing is landed, because the warehouses are checked and they do satellite monitoring» ; However, the aforementioned official audit demonstrates the opposite and this is serious, because the scourge of illegal fishing extracts fishing resources of the order of 12 billion dollars annually from Latin America and the Caribbean, impoverishing its people, taking away jobs and competitiveness of companies.

The Audit of the Ministry of Economy and Finance of Uruguay carried out in June 2023 at DINARA is definitive and, from its conclusions, it clearly emerges that in the Port of Montevideo there is no control of Illegal Fishing, in addition, it is out of control other irregularities.  

The Association of Officials of the Ministry of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries of Uruguay warned about the “ set of conclusions and findings with extreme criticality ” of this Audit and, they understand, that the report “ demonstrates the serious operational problem that DINARA presents, as “result of a dismantling that negatively impacts the management, generation of information, research and control of fishing resources, as well as the hygienic-sanitary control and safety of fishing products ” ( Montevideo Portal, 7/28/2023 ). A very harsh statement from the area's own officials.

The conclusion of the Nation's Audit states that " the process of issuing and renewing industrial commercial fishing permits presented internal control weaknesses, which do not allow us to ensure that they comply with the requirements established by current regulations, efficiency of operations, the reliability and integrity of information and the protection of hydrobiological resources" ; for " absence in the control and monitoring activity, in order to guarantee that permit holders do not deviate from the authorizations granted, in reference to the quantity, type of fishing, the state and use of hydrobiological resources "; That is to say, fishing in the Port of Montevideo lacks any control and, this means not knowing the origin and traceability of the catches and landings, the eventual illegal appropriation of resources originating from the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) of Uruguay and Argentina or , migratory from these on the high seas, as well as in the Common Fishing Zone of both countries; the extraction of larger volumes than authorized; the capture of sizes smaller than those allowed or of fully exploited species; the discarding and replacement of species upon landing or transshipment; among other irregularities, which could include drug trafficking operations and slave labor. A situation that is ratified when the audit indicates: « The organization does not have a comprehensive Fishing Registry, the information is partial and is segmented into different areas, not allowing a traceability of the process, nor exercise the necessary controls for adequate and timely decision-making »; contrary to the recommendations of the FAO, which are aggravated when Uruguay is part of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the Port State (Law 19,017; Decree 323/17).

These irregularities could be sufficient reason for international markets to discard the Port of Montevideo as a loading and unloading station for fishing products. A situation that should be brought to the attention of the Uruguayan Foreign Ministry, the Ministry of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries and the Treaty Commission of the Río de la Plata -by application of Art.74º, 80º and 82º of this; FAO standards and the Preamble and art.

By Agenda Malvinas

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