In use of the powers conferred on the president by the National Constitution, he called the National Congress to Extraordinary Sessions, starting on February 1, to discuss, among other issues, the bill by which the BENTHONIC MARINE PROTECTED AREA is created. BLUE HOLE” (Exp.

30 de January de 2022 17:24

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I will summarize in two initial pages, for those who do not wish to read all of them, where I describe this monstrosity in greater detail.

A project that presents, from serious errors to unverifiable foundations; an inadequate and high-risk biological, economic and diplomatic strategy, in addition to a demagogic attitude regarding the protection of the remains of the Submarine “ARA San Juan”, without there being a single reference in the project's foundations in this regard, instead of create a monument in fact absolutely unrelated to this unfounded bill.

A project that aims to define a territorial limitation and begins by confusing the cardinal points to the point of locating "... to the east by the limit of the Argentine EEZ and to the west by the isobath of 5,000 meters... ", when judging by Annex I of the project, it should be precisely the other way around. Authors, advisors, reviewers and those who intervened in the Foreign Affairs, Maritime and River Interests and Defense Commissions do not seem to have paid attention to this central issue of the law, since without limits there are no defined area to protect. The cardinal points are “the east” indicated as the approximate place where the sun rises each day and “the west” where it sets. The east-west line is considered the axis of the abscissa in a geographic coordinate system and the north-south axis of the ordinates. The Compass Rose has been used in navigation since time immemorial. At least one geographer should have been consulted when establishing these points.

I will say that the foundations of the project are not proven : “… it is rooted in the multiple benefits that these conservation tools bring to the country's economy, strengthening international relations…” (? ) “… marine protected areas are an indispensable tool for research (INIDEP can investigate without having an AMP) “… Increasing this percentage (8% of AMP) would result in benefits   economic, social and strategic (It is not tested and the MPAs are not established for this, but to ensure the marine environment and the sustainability of the species).

It is not true that: "... currently, 8.2% of the marine spaces under the jurisdiction of the Argentine Republic are registered under the figure of marine protected areas ..." unless the authors believe that the maritime spaces occupied by The United Kingdom of Great Britain are not under Argentine jurisdiction and ignore that in 2011 this Kingdom arrogantly determined an ecological reserve of 1,070,000 km2, that is, 34% of the Argentine sea has a restriction on fishing and, if We add to it, the total British invasion of Argentine waters and island territories, 52% of the Argentine sea is inaccessible to fishing by national vessels and not so for Spaniards, Koreans, Taiwanese, etc.who fish with an illegal British license. This, furthermore, does not include the 1,430,367 km2 of the Continental Shelf that have not been recommended by the Commission that operates in the UN "because it is in dispute with the United Kingdom."

The bill is incongruous when it justifies a “ sovereign action by Argentina ” and then contradicts itself by saying that “… the rights of the Argentine Republic over its continental shelf are independent of its real or fictitious occupation, as well as of any express declaration …”

On the other hand, " the benthic protection that is promoted " will not modify - in any way - the maintenance of the " scenario of intense legal and illegal fishing activity " in international waters. This is not an adequate strategy to resolve the important illegal fishing of resources. migrants of origin in the Argentine EEZ, which are not found on the platform but in the water courses. The project at this point seems like a “copy and paste” of inconsistent arguments and outdated antecedents; says: “… it generates a highly productive ecosystem associated with upwelling regimes whose mechanisms are poorly known (…) The benthic area of the “Blue Hole” is described as highly impacted by the bottom trawl fishery directed especially at common hake and hake . austral (...) The specific impact of benthic trawl fisheries in the area has not been quantified... " (Portela et al.2012/15) (...) High fishing intensity is recorded in the Blue Hole by international fleets directed at squid (Illex argentinus) (…) The activity of this particular fleet would not have a direct impact on the seabed. Benthic resources are not exploited in the area and their protection does not affect national economic interests, but it would allow fishing exploitation to be prevented by part of international fleets ” (Absolutely inconsistent and improbable) “ Suspected events of cargo transshipment and illegal fishing …” (There is no way, according to UNCLOS, that through this project transshipments can be avoided through legislation of a coastal State) “b. Promotes collaboration and agreement in strategic international relations ; c.Consolidates the strategy of scientific, technological and innovation diplomacy, through greater knowledge of marine ecosystems (…) the country brand ” (Nothing founded, that cannot be carried out with current legislation and current international agreements.

Regarding the socioeconomic aspects, the project says that “ It contributes to the development of activities relevant to the regional economies of the Patagonian coast, such as wildlife-based tourism ” (Relevant activities?). And who will finance this monstrosity? There are those who suggested that national fishing with the payment of capture rights on the high seas finances it. Another absurdity, while the entire foreign fishing fleet subsidized fishing on the high seas, the national fleet's operations would become more expensive. Quite the opposite, to what there is What to do is to give the national fleet the tools to compete on an equal basis with the foreign fleet (I have already told all the Fisheries and Malvinas officials without success).

This is a project that on October 27, 2020 intended to be discussed on a table in the venue and did not prosper because it did not obtain two-thirds of the votes and, it is known, it has been criticized by the Inter-Business Chamber and dozens of specialists and academics; It lacks all scientific, environmental, economic, and productive rigor and is absolutely harmless to foreign illegal fishing, in addition to being a risky initiative with possible connotations relative to our sovereignty in the South Atlantic.

Having read the foundations of this project, I can affirm that the rights of Argentina over its Continental Shelf - as the project clearly indicates - " are independent of its real or fictitious occupation, as well as of any express declaration ", so the rights fall into the abstract. foundations regarding the exercise of sovereignty, even more so, when Argentina lacks control capacity, as has already been demonstrated in the Namuncurá I and II, and Yaganes MPAs, both under the responsibility of the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development of the Nation, instead of the Undersecretary of Fisheries (Law 24,922).

Contrary to what the project poorly wants to show, this MPA will have no effect on illegal fishing on the high seas and the trawling it refers to rarely operates in the depths of this area, so it does not The impact on benthic species has been proven with scientific rigor.

There is a single field study carried out, now outdated, by the Spanish Institute of Oceanography ( 2008/12 ) and, in the Puerto Magazine interview ( 6/17/21 ), the INIDEP Research Director Claudia Carozza indicated the lack of sufficient scientific evidence. This MPA that is being promoted could not act on the watercourse, which is why it would not modify the catches, despite which, the project indicates " supports important commercial fisheries..." (sic), it does not specify " the economic and political interests ” that “highlight” the AMP and insists that “ there has been decades of high fishing pressure and is also the scene of alleged or credible unreported and unregulated fishing in the Southwestern Atlantic ” (sic). I insist, nothing of These generalities will have to be modified with an AMP, because it is not enough and could not do so, on the species of the watercourse it refers to. And, as I have said, there is no current study with scientific rigor that has determined that there is risk in the area. ecological, a basic condition to justify an MPA and, the very foundations of the project indicate this, when it is specified: “ The specific impact of benthic trawl fisheries in the area has not been quantified…(Portela et al.2015) ” and especially refers to the fact that “The biomass of vulnerable benthic species increases significantly beyond 400 meters depth.” In any case, what needs to be worked on is to carry out agreements to prohibit the use of bottom trawl nets in predetermined areas, allowing selective nets to be used (in the case of squid) and not establishing benthic MPAs that will not prevent fishing by foreign vessels. with trawl nets and, yes, they will add a new difficulty to national fishing that - surely - will have to end up demonstrating what the State has not yet demonstrated: whether or not fishing causes harm to benthic species in that large area. What should to be discussed is whether or not bottom trawling is an authorized or prohibited fishing gear, in this or that place. And this is under discussion in the world.

If there were a beneficiary of this project in fishing matters, it would be the United Kingdom of Great Britain, which grants illegal fishing licenses to foreign and local vessels that fish in that area and the area corresponding to the occupied Malvinas, as already happened in 1990 when Cavallo agreed with the British a joint conservation area east of the Malvinas (“The Chicken Coop Agreement”).

The foundations of the project are insisted on with arguments related to commercial, illegal fishing, etc. that have no relationship with the project being promoted: " High fishing intensity is recorded by international fleets targeting squid (Illex argentinus), identified by night satellite images..." (sic), although it is later noted that " the activity of this particular fleet would not have a direct impact on the seabed" (sic). It says "it would not have" and it should say "it does not have", because the jigs with which the squid is caught have no effect on the soil. He adds that this project " would allow fishing exploitation by international fleets to be prevented" (sic) ; It goes even further and says: « Suspicious events of cargo transshipment and illegal fishing. Illegal fishing, unreported and unregulated, constitutes one of the main threats to responsible fishing and one of the main global challenges, with serious environmental and economic consequences. socio-economic. It is estimated that between 1980 and 2003 illegal catches amounted to 20% of global catches (...) The Southwestern Atlantic is one of the five marine regions where this practice has increased (...). Transshipment maneuvers in the sea (…) have been associated with patterns of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (…) The Southwestern Atlantic, more specifically the sector of the proposed MPA, has been identified as one of the global areas with high intensity of marine transshipment… » (sic). In addition to using erroneous terminology in the project, all the arguments are absolutely unrelated to the topic, lacking any link with the project being defended and where irregularities are pointed out that will not be resolved with this Benthic Marine Protected Area .

To say that “ the sighting of species and natural spectacles in coastal sites ” could be sustained with this MPA, is to ignore the geography and marine breadth and the fishing predation that takes place outside the EEZ, of the order of one million tons annually, in which would have to be worked on.

Andrés Loubet-Jambert, head of the accredited fishing agency FIS, asks : "Who is affected by the imposition of a Benthic Protected Area? (which does not apply to the water column) the heavily subsidized Chinese vessels, which turn out to be the main ones predators and violators of all international or local conservation and management standards? 80% of the fishing fleet in adjacent waters is of Chinese origin and fishes mainly squid, with jiggers without touching the seabed. The MPA will not affect them and On the contrary, it would seem to leave the Area even more liberated than it is today. In addition, the jigger vessels that fish for Illex squid do not touch the seabed; Longliners and mid-water trawlers also do not reach the bottom. It would only be necessary to analyze how many vessels and under what flag fish on the seabed, what species, with what fishing gear and in what areas they operate, information that Argentine legislators surely do not have (NdA : and neither do the researchers because the last partial study was carried out by the IOE in 2008). It may be that there are flag of convenience or Chinese vessels that operate where they should not or use fishing systems, such as drift nets, which can affect resources, but there is no information available in this regard .

If Argentina had to protect an area, it should be the 200 miles surrounding the Malvinas, South Georgia and South Sandwich that are being depredated and beyond all national control; maritime and continental shelf spaces of the order of 1,639,900 km2, which, as I mentioned, represent 52% of the Argentine sea, that is, far exceeding the Argentine commitments acquired by the Strategic Plan for Biological Diversity 2011-2020.

Declaring “in fact” a National Marine Monument to the area where the ARA San Juan Submarine is located, decrees with this act that the State will not recover the remains and will have no practical effects for foreign fleets, since they will not abide by the restriction of not fishing, which implies the aforementioned qualification according to Law 27,037. It would require, in any case, an Agreement with the flag States to avoid fishing in the assigned area, which, since it is not specified, gives the scope of the entire Benthic MPA. In any case case, it is striking that in the foundations there is not a single line regarding this determination that seems more intended to raise awareness among the relatives of the crew of the ARA San Juan than to care for the remains.

By establishing in Article 1 the management category of « Strict Marine National Reserve » “ on ( preposition: above ) the spaces of the continental shelf” and not “ in ” the continental shelf, it would generate restrictions on fishing in the courses of water.

By the way, I cannot ignore the technical report on this MPA from the Interchambers of the Argentine Fishing Industry (August/2021), which is absolutely forceful regarding the productive and economic inconvenience and the scientific-technical unsustainability of this project and, it is that , when planning is done from desks, reality is usually distorted.

Seventeen articles of Law 24,922 provide the Undersecretariat of Fisheries of the Nation, INIDEP and equivalent provincial organizations with sufficient tools to manage and make fishing sustainable throughout the marine territory and its continental shelf. There would be no risk of overfishing or marine environmental damage if the National Enforcement Authority (the Undersecretary of Fisheries) carried out the appropriate control on its own and, through the Argentine Navy and the Naval Prefecture. The aforementioned Undersecretary has sufficient authority to prohibit temporarily or permanently , limit catches or apply reserves to ensure the sustainability of the species on the continental shelf and the sea and, beyond 200 nautical miles if the appropriate Fishing Agreements are made, to protect migratory species originating from the Argentine EEZ.

Issuing laws to establish AMPs is doubling the official structures by assigning the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development as the Enforcement Authority in a task that by law already provides the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries. Management will become more expensive as more funds are required to manage the tasks that are assigned and the responsibility is bureaucratized, since the aforementioned Ministry of Environment is already represented by an official in the Federal Fisheries Council. A question that in itself is absurd, because with the criteria applied, all the productive activities administered by the State should be made up of delegates from that Ministry, instead of requiring producers, industrialists and merchants to comply with environmental laws. Furthermore, both agencies must resort to the same naval means to control the areas. and, they conclude - in a country without resources - being inefficient and ineffective, an issue that the project's authors should not be unaware of, even if they do not foresee where the necessary funds for control will come from.

This duplication of functions, etc. are the model of how to discredit the State, giving rise to future privatizations under the pretext of improving services. In the aspects related to the “Agujero Azul” Benthic MPAs, I already gave my negative opinion to the consultation of the then Senator Pino Solanas (5/7/11.12.2018) and the representative herself Graciela Camaño (mail of 11/26/2020) to whom I suggested deactivating the project. I also hope that this project does not lead to the taking of a new credit to build another research ship abroad for this purpose, which, as is known, would have a multimillion-dollar cost. This is what is being talked about in the port media.

MPAs are not necessarily the most suitable tools to try to protect marine resources in countries that, like Argentina, have applicable legislation (Law 24,922) and fisheries resource management bodies (this does not mean that they are complying with their obligations), since MPAs do not have sufficient spatial and temporal adaptability to respond dynamically to permanent changes in the life cycles, etc. of species and in relation to climate changes, etc. and catches and, even more serious: this multilateral imposition of foreign origin, both in the current Yaganes and Namuncurá I and II AMPs, and in the one that is intended to be imposed through a bill for the Agujero Azul Bentonic AMP, with the then endorsement of the Argentine Foreign Ministry, would favor the British exploitation in the Malvinas area and adjacent, of migratory resources originating from the Argentine EEZ.

So that we can all understand the damage that the MPAs cause to Argentina, I will briefly refer to the current MPAs and in more depth to the aforementioned proposal for the Agujero Azul Bentonic MPA; specifying, first of all, that, according to Law 27,037, in the Strict National Marine Reserves, fishing and any type of prospecting, exploration and extractive activity on the seabed and subsoil is prohibited, an issue that the closures provided for in Law 24,922 can establish - permanently or temporarily - in a much more dynamic way, in protection of the reproduction, spawning, etc. of the species. That is, these limitations, before the establishment of the aforementioned Reserves, should be taken by the Undersecretariat of Fisheries with the scientific support from the National Institute of Fisheries Research and Development (INIDEP), which is why, for many years, commercial fishing has complied with closed seasons and other limitations designed to provide sustainability to the resource, on the platform or in the waters and, therefore, Therefore, in the marine spaces under Argentine control - if this were efficient - there should be no predation. Where there is predation is in the Malvinas area, where despite being Argentine territories, the national authorities cannot control captures; overfishing; the discards; fishing gear, etc. and have not applied Law 27,564 sanctioned on 8/16/2020; as well as on the high seas where migratory species originating from the Argentine EEZ are captured without any control, an issue that could not be resolved with an MPA, but rather with fishing agreements, such as UNCLOS itself, and Law 24,543 makes it clear in its art. 2nd.

NGOs (mostly of foreign origin) and other international organizations with their delegates in the country have already promoted the establishment of MPAs in Argentina, going beyond the goal of reducing national fishing in the South Atlantic to nothing, with the pretext that Argentina must comply with commitments made to the United Nations. With this foundation, Congress approved the Namuncurá-Burdwood I and II and Yaganes Bank (Laws 26,875 and 27,490) with an approximate surface area of 100 thousand km 2 of the Argentine sea , which, the ecologist Martina Sasso (from the Rewilding Foundation) understands that, " Argentines have a reserve of 10% of our sea " and that " in line with the Argentine commitment in the Strategic Plan for Biological Diversity 2011-2020 We could set ourselves as a goal, expanding that protection to 20-30% » (Infobae, 2018). The lightness with which this environmentalist refers to banning, without any biological basis, from 629,269 km2 to 943,904 km2 of the Argentine sea is so light and, what is Worse still, it does not take into account that the United Kingdom has occupied 1,639,900 km2 of Argentine marine territory (including 1,070,000 km2 of ecological sanctuary), where it extracts 250 thousand tons of Argentine fish and squid annually, which is why Argentina National capture is prohibited in 52% of its sea; plus 1,430,367 km2 of the continental shelf that the United Kingdom disputes with Argentina.

For that reason, the national government and, as I have suggested on several occasions - submitting specific projects to the government - in the face of the extraction of fishing resources without Argentine control and the exploration and exploitation of oil in the Malvinas by the United Kingdom, should declare Fisheries and Environmental Emergency Zone to the area corresponding to the Malvinas, South Georgia and South Sandwich Archipelagos and the corresponding marine territories and in the total of the continental shelf, the bed and subsoil of the marine space of those Argentine insular territories and, create a Marine Protected Area over the marine spaces corresponding to the aforementioned Archipelagos, in agreement with the Government of the Province of Tierra del Fuego, at the same time deregistering the Namuncurá I and II and Yaganes MPAs. This should not prevent, the eventual establishment of temporary closures by INIDEP in the last mentioned areas, in times of spawning, presence of juveniles, etc. or the use of a certain type of fishing gear or other restrictive measure could be required. All of this in accordance with United Nations Res.31/49.

The work presented in the Chamber of Deputies of the Nation by Milko Schvartzman on “ Illegal Fishing and Slavery in the Malvinas Islands ”, together with Alejandro E.Hernández; Pablo L. Rubino; Andrea CLópez; Luciano Aguirre, is eloquent. For its part, the British Consulting firm MacAlister, Elliot & partners Limited, specialized in sustainable fishing, considered (2020) that “ fishing activity in the Malvinas is compromising the environment ”. We remember as an inventory that, at time to approve the aforementioned MPAs «Fishing as a productive activity was not taken into account by any of the 196 deputies present in the room (...) nor the impact that this or other areas (...) could have on the industry and its workers (and) the very low biological study that claims to support the chosen area does not take into consideration fishing exploitation (...) on the identified areas to which reference was made (...) proposed by the Ministry of Environment that did not consult INIDEP and ( for their part) the Undersecretariat of Fisheries and the Federal Fisheries Council (...) did not make contributions nor did they summon specialized biologists..." and, I add, the Foreign Ministry could not be consulted either, otherwise it could not have given approval to these projects that contribute to the support of the fishing resource in the Malvinas.

The uncontrolled areas of the Malvinas, plus the marine territories where illegal fishing is also carried out, are an issue to be resolved, since both the Malvinas area of about 438,000 km2 and the High Seas area of about 600,000 km2 are concerned. , along with the rest of the Argentine EEZ, of a single ecosystem that must be managed together. In spaces outside Argentine control, resources of the order of one million tons per year of migratory or associated fish and squid are extracted that affect the food chain of the national species and also to the extractions carried out by national companies in the Argentine EEZ. Currently there is no safe way to establish the Maximum Annual Sustainable Yield with such a lack of control in the South Atlantic and, of course, along with this, I give It is ruled out that the Undersecretary of Fisheries must end discarding, illegal fishing and vessels with irregular permits and quotas within the EEZ. An issue that is in debt and forms a substantial part of a clear and sustainable administration of the resource.

Currently, under the appearance of a great ecological benefit, the Namuncurá and Yaganes MPAs would protect the resources in an area under the control of Argentina that serves to repopulate, due to the migratory currents of the species (among others toothfish, tailfish, southern and Polish), the Malvinas area, which is under British possession, and the adjacent area, which results in a true environmental nonsense, unsustainability and predation of national resources, since while Argentina establishes marine reserves under the pretext of protecting to the species, the United Kingdom continues to have as its first economic income the Argentine resources that are fished illegally through British licenses by foreign vessels.

With 3,146,345 km2 of Argentine marine territory in the EEZ, if 30% of the spaces were reserved, as the aforementioned environmentalist claims, national vessels would be prohibited from fishing in 943,904 km2; That is to say, added to the 1,639,900 km2 occupied by the United Kingdom, only 562,541.5 km2 would remain for Argentine fishing exploitation. This, without counting the permanent and temporary bans and the closure of fishing grounds established with INIDEP scientific rigor. That is, conservation and such an effort would not be at the service of the sustainability of the resource, but would prevent its exploitation, where only foreign vessels that carry out illegal fishing with or without a British license in the area would remain as beneficiaries. of the Malvinas or on the high seas.

Within the marine territory occupied by the United Kingdom, it unilaterally established the so-called “Ecological Sanctuary” in 2011; a supposed “protection area” around South Georgia and the South Sandwich equivalent to 1,070,000 km2, four times larger than the total continental surface of the United Kingdom. This space is controlled by British naval patrols that are financed with fishing permits (Argentine fish) and, despite the fact that the United Kingdom is a signatory, like Argentina, of the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), this area occupies about 20,000 km2.This MPA motivated a Draft Declaration of energetic rejection on 4/10/2012 (S-814-12) by the former Senators of the PJ Pedro Guastavino and Elsa Ruíz Díaz, although in that declaration they made the mistake of indicating "... on the part of the government of the South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands » (sic), when they are Argentine island and marine spaces invaded by the United Kingdom; but that the Foreign Ministry should keep in mind when accompanying any attempt to add new AMPs.

We finally arrived at the Bentónica AMP “Agujero Azul”, a project presented by Representative Graciela Camaño with the accompaniment of several deputies, which would have had the support of the Foreign Ministry, while specifying that, in that space, the Heroes of the ARA rest. San Juan” and house the remains of the Submarine ARA San Juan (Art.2º). This Project (Art.1º) establishes a “Benthic Marine Protected Area” called “Blue Hole” with the category of Strict Marine National Reserve over the spaces of the Continental Shelf with a surface of 164,000 km2 located beyond the EEZ. That is, according to the given categorization and according to article 5 of Law 27,037, " fishing in any of its forms" would be prohibited in that area; any type of prospecting, exploration and extractive activity on the seabed and subsoil and recreational and educational public visits" and this calls into question the scope and validity of this initiative, first of all, because this bill in its operative part does not make an exception to law 27,037, article 5, paragraph iii, regarding the fact that it does not cover " fishing in any of its forms" that is carried out on water courses. And this is central because, on the one hand, article 1 of the project states that it applies “ on ” (preposition above) the spaces of the platform” and not “in” the platform”, in such a way that it could lead to limiting fishing above the spaces of the platform in the proposed MPA. Secondly, because under UNCLOS and the Convention on Biological Diversity, the government does not have the power to regulate fishing outside the EEZ as long as the issue of ownership of migratory resources originating in the EEZ is not ratified. Argentina and Agreements are made. Thirdly, and no less important: you cannot have an AMP with a Strict National Marine Reserve where the remains of the Submarine ARA and its crew are located because by application of the same law (Art.5º v) “ Recreational and educational public visits” are prohibited and, in the case of being classified as a National Marine Monument (Law 27,037 Art.5º c), “ Fishing under modalities not contemplated in the management plan” would be prohibited (ii ) extractive activities on the seabed and subsoil (iii) and any activity that disturbs or modifies the unique characteristic that justified its categorization (v)» .

It is not the objective of these lines to contribute to improving the erroneous determination of the then authorities of the Foreign Ministry, which, we assume, should have the favorable opinion of the National Council of Malvinas to support this project (although we understand that it does not have sufficient powers). On the contrary, justify why it must be discarded, at the same time as also repealing, the laws approved by the Namuncurá I and II and Yaganes AMPs; promoting, at the same time, the approval of an MPA that reaches the corresponding waters of the Malvinas, South Georgia and South Sandwich, whose spaces we have occupied and the resources that are captured without Argentine control are being preyed upon by the United Kingdom.

I begin by saying that it seems to me to be in very bad taste and a lack of respect for the heroes of the ARA San Juan Submarine, to place in a project mainly intended for the preservation of the continental shelf, the bed and subsoil - as demonstrated by its foundations and Annexes - a question related to the meritorious tribute and protection to the heroes of the ARA San Juan submarine, which would deserve its own law and not the circumstantial addition within a topic totally unrelated to the painful circumstance that all Argentines and particularly the heroes and their families are experiencing .

Allocating 164,000 km 2 for the purposes explained in the project seems excessive, but, in that immensity, it is intended to place this issue so dear to our feelings without being able to infer the importance assigned to it, when in the operative part or in In the foundations of the bill there is only one solid argument to establish an MPA and create a Marine Monument to Heroes, related to a serious event, which has not yet been sufficiently clarified.

The State is sentencing the final will not to recover the aforementioned remains and, all in all, it gives the bitter sensation of being an “inappropriate addition” to give a sentimental value, with clear connotations of political promotion, to a clearly economic project. biological and environmental.

Regarding the issues related to maritime sovereignty, the benefits to the economy and the sustainability of the fishing resources that the approval of the project would supposedly provide, which are described in the unfounded and contradictory foundations, they are mere statements, many of them absolutely unrelated to the subject matter addressed by the project, lacking legality, technical reasonableness and certain possibilities of being executed. For example, they indicate the foundations:

Regarding the scope and delimitation of the project it says: " Argentina is authorized to regulate mineral resources and other non-living resources of the seabed and its subsoil, as well as with respect to living organisms belonging to sedentary species (those that in the period of exploitation are immobile on the seabed or its subsoil or can only move in constant physical contact with the seabed or subsoil), without affecting the legal status of the overlying waters or the airspace located above such waters. This is the only thing that could regulate the project and in the area that has been recommended by the Platform Limits Commission that operates in the physical area of the UN of 351,633 km2 (3/28/2016 and 3/17/ 2017) and not on the total of 1,782,000 km 2 claimed by Argentina, unless we enter into an open dispute with the United Kingdom regarding the exploitation of the 1,430,367 km2 not treated by the Boundary Commission that operates in the scope of the UN.

The classification of the “Benthic Marine Protected Area” called “Blue Hole” with the category of Strict Marine National Reserve is absolutely erroneous since it would prevent all capture activity in the assigned area, as law 27,037 in the Strict Marine National Reserves « "prohibits fishing and any type of prospecting, exploration and extractive activity on the seabed and subsoil ."

Regarding the delimitation of the Marine Protected Area, I begin by saying that establishing an MPA in the Blue Hole, in the hypothetical and absolutely improbable scenario that it would be an effective action for Argentina, will be especially beneficial for the United Kingdom by ensuring the availability of the resources for the granting of illegal fishing licenses and the best conditions for the recognition of the United Kingdom as a coastal State in the Southwest Atlantic. The limits assigned by the project to the AMP are parallel 42º 32'S to the north; to the south the parallel 47º 30'S; to the east the limit of the Argentine EEZ and to the west by the isobath of 5000 meters and, this limitation is absolutely imperfect since, as I have said, the external limit of the EEZ is in the west and not in the east and, likewise, the isobata mentioned is in the east and not in the west and another issue is that part of the area could be in dispute with the United Kingdom, which is why any claim will be unenforceable against third parties, but and, very especially, as I have already said , could give rise to British actions with unpredictable consequences for national sovereignty.

Just these two points observed should be enough to reject the project.

Regarding the exploitation of benthic resources, the project says: " Benthic resources are not exploited in the area and their protection does not affect national economic interests, but it would prevent fishing exploitation by international fleets (...) The activity of the jigging fleet does not would have a direct impact on the seabed (…) The area is described as highly impacted by the bottom trawl fishery aimed especially at common hake and southern hake (…) The trawl fishery impacts benthic species (corals, sponges, etc.) .).(…) The specific impact of benthic trawl fisheries in the area has not been quantified, but it is suggested that it has been high enough to almost eliminate the diversity of vulnerable benthic species in the Blue Hole sector (Portela et al .2015) (…) the biomass of vulnerable benthic species increases significantly beyond 400 meters of depth... "Certainly, I notice a series of contradictions, inaccuracies and lack of scientific evidence and outdated reports that would indicate the unnecessary creation of a AMP and, in any case, it would deserve that the Enforcement Authority (the Undersecretariat of Fisheries) entrust INIDEP with scientific studies in the area to survey it and, eventually, once current and truthful information is obtained, the Federal Fisheries Council implements the relevant closures and the limitation of trawling nets in cases where necessary and in the spaces that warrant it due to the depth of the trawl.

The project addresses issues related to trawling and relates the effects caused by a fishing method, which, although it is being discouraged in the European Union within community waters, must be widely discussed technically, business-wise and in the workplace with respect to possible effects that it could cause in that area and the methods and financing to replace the fishing units and gear. All of this requires a broad prior debate with the fishing sector that has not been carried out and, where, as I have said, the Inter-Chambers of the The Fishing Industry has opposed this initiative with well-founded arguments. On the other hand, the issue is a competence of the Undersecretariat of Fisheries provided for in law 24,922 art.7º, 21º and 51º and no AMP is required for its application. At this point it would seem that the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development is advancing on the functions assigned to the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries and, with that criterion, it could do the same in all extractive, productive and industrial activities, whatever. was his nature.

Regarding fishing in the waters of the area selected to protect the continental shelf, bed and subsoil, the project says: " In the Blue Hole, high fishing intensity is recorded by international fleets targeting squid (Illex argentinus) (...) events suspected of cargo transshipment and illegal fishing (…) illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (…) It is estimated that between 1980 and 2003 illegal catches amounted to 20% of global catches and the Southwestern Atlantic is one of the five regions marine areas where this practice has increased (Christensen 2016) (…) Transshipment maneuvers at sea (trans-shipment, fishing vessels that transfer their cargo to large freezer ships) have been associated with illegal, unreported and unreported fishing patterns. regulated (…) The Southwestern Atlantic, more specifically the sector of the proposed MPA, has been identified as one of the global areas with high intensity of marine transshipment associated with illegal fishing (…) this sector, which has been under high fishing pressure for decades and is In addition, there is a scenario of alleged or credible unreported and unregulated fishing in the Southwestern Atlantic... ».

None of what the preceding arguments indicate can be resolved with this project and on the contrary it would aggravate the existing situation. By the way, in its resolution aspects the project does not advance on these issues because it is not the object of this AMP and especially because the Argentina lacks the powers to do so, at least in the way that, erroneously, has been addressed.

This project regarding the complaints regarding illegal fishing is nothing more than a mere expression of wishes, since the marine jurisdiction of the EEZ ends at 200 miles and the Blue Hole is outside it on the high seas, where the Argentina (at least with the traditional concept of law enforcement) does not have police powers and exploitation in that area, as a coastal State, should be agreed with the Flag States (foreign vessels), working on two aspects so that the rights over migratory resources originating in the Argentine EEZ are recognized and agreements are made between companies (not between States where the record in our country has been regrettable). It is not by establishing AMPs, which will only be limited to national vessels and which - for the On the contrary, they have to go fishing beyond 200 miles. As if that were not enough, this unfounded Argentine determination will give rise to the United Kingdom to promote an action of similar characteristics on the disputed continental shelf, causing very serious and irreversible damage to our country. country.

The Environmental Consulting Firm Recilience, which would be professionals in relation to INIDEP researchers, issued a document that, although I do not partially share its strategy, confirms some of the issues that I raise in this work. It says: " to date it has not been demonstrated reliably in the proposal for the creation of this new MPA, what is the current level of impact of entropic activity on the seabed and, nor is this sufficient to justify that fishing should be avoided absolutely. It is not an acceptable practice. nor at the local level -as happened with the Namuncurá MPAs -Banco Burdwood II and Yaganes- and much less at the international level in waters outside the EEZ of the countries that establish the closure of areas very little (or not at all) studied from the point of view of the biological communities that inhabit it and expect the international community to respect such a circumstance when its interests are at stake .

But, the aforementioned report by the research director of INIDEP and coordinator of the Institute on these issues, Dr. Claudia Carozza (interview by Karina Fernández from Revista Puerto, 06/17/2021) is absolutely eloquent, regarding the lack of scientific information sufficient and rigorous to establish the “Blue Hole” Benthic MPA and, in this regard, it states: «…it was concluded that the scientific argument was well documented, but it did not arise from a scientific study , the opinions were subsequent (…) We will provide all our data .but they do not go beyond 200 miles, because the observers do not arrive and from the research campaigns, except for squid that makes a few sets outside the Exclusive Economic Zone, we do not have information about the proposed area (...) the proposal is benthic , from the fisheries information there does not arise a need to protect that area because we do not have data, we do have all the data on what happens from 200 miles inwards (...) Hake, haddock, squid. The report is based on thirteen tides. or campaigns basically. That is the information that we have (NdA: not those that are intended to be protected on the platform) (...) in the ad hoc group they are meeting to provide information, it is not that the issue is closed by any means. At least, there is a long way to go because we don't know much about the area (…) In reality, because of how the MPAs are defined, we must have all the objects, the studies, there is a procedure (…) INIDEP has planned a ship to go to those areas (...) would the strict nature prevent the passage of ships that do not touch the bottom with their gear? Yes, even though the project has already gone to the Deputies, there is still a lot to discuss and define (…) Monitoring was also a discussion because it must be guaranteed that you will be able to take care of it, do research, control and surveillance (…) is it already Is there a claim by the scientific community of the lack of monitoring of Yaganes and Burdwood Bank? Yes, we are talking about all those issues, planning, seeing with the ships we have who can go to those areas. At the moment we have the ships affected by other issues, except for the one we will do with Blue Hole, which was already on our schedule. (…) Is INIDEP in a position to physically and materially carry out the work required to incorporate a new study program? As we are, no, we are all very overloaded (...) our fundamental function is to advise on the management of resources (...) Demand increases and we must feed the machinery, today we are limited .

For its part, the Council of Argentine Fishing Companies (CEPA, 2019) expressed: « In our country, practically no studies have been carried out to reliably establish the positive impact of closed seasons or Marine Protected Areas for the community as a whole and for individuals. involved from the social and economic point of view. In the proposals for the creation of new MPAs, the identification and quantification of the benefits of each and every one of the potential new protected areas has been completely ignored. Only the possible effect of conservation of species and, very rarely, of habitats or ecosystems, but there is not a single mention or, only in a tangential way, related to possible social or economic benefits derived from the existence of MPAs .

I insist, this bill does not resolve illegal fishing on the high seas - which is the most important political, biological, economic and social thing that needs to be resolved today. The author of the Bill in question adds a series of phrases full of voluntarism and technical, legal and biological inconsistency to decorate a project that limits its actions to the platform, the bed and subsoil, since Argentina lacks the power to control illegal fishing on the high seas unless it carries out a series of policies that even date have not started and we have already referred to some of them.

The author argues that the slope sector " includes a system of little-known submarine canyons but which would present characteristics of high biodiversity and would have a relevant ecological role in the transport of water between the platform and the Argentine ocean basin " and, in this regard, Andrés Loubet-Jambert (FIS, May 2021) describes that " the so-called 'high biodiversity' characteristics must be substantiated with current scientific studies to ensure what relevant ecological role they have (...) taking into account that the Policy and Economics Division of the Fisheries and Aquaculture (FIP) and the Fisheries and Aquaculture Resources Utilization and Conservation Division (FIR) of FAO (2012) indicate that: ‹the establishment of marine protected areas should be in accordance with international law and on the basis of scientific information (…) In many places the application of MPAs has been carried out in a fragmentary manner and, at the very least, without coordination; or in the worst case, biodiversity conservation objectives have come into conflict with fishing interests. Conflicts usually break out when countries rush to proclaim MPAs in order to achieve biodiversity conservation goals, but, without taking into account the way in which such areas could affect coastal communities, fishing patterns, catches or management .

For its part (FAO, 1.3.) also clarifies that: « MPAs that have been designed to achieve generic “one size fits all” goals would not be suitable for all habitat types and objectives and should be considered with caution. Poorly structured MPAs whose execution pursues overly ambitious goals will often lead to errors resulting from inappropriate uses, an imperfect design or a defective application, or from these three failures at the same time (...) One of the main risks What MPAs entail as a unique solution is that in some cases it will be necessary (or will have already been necessary) to channel limited international, national and local capacities and resources towards various purposes, which are no longer sufficient, and which could have been used most profitably to solve the problems that are being sought to be addressed (Cochrane, 2006) (…) If an MPA is planned and implemented without the participation of coastal communities and resource users, and without taking into consideration their situation and needs, the risk is real that the protected area will fail (…) Unfortunately, this happens frequently, and in some countries these situations are recorded in almost 80 to 90% of cases. One of the reasons for the Failure of management initiatives is lack of community support; But, there are other no less important causes such as lack of financing and inefficient management , an issue that, as we have seen, is not met in this project.

It is also inadmissible that the author refers to: " The proposed area covers an area especially impacted by fishing activity (legal and with presumption of illegality) and areas that are presumed to be little impacted... " since when migratory resources are fished on the high seas originating from the Argentine EEZ without control of any kind, fishing is illegal. I have no technical doubt that foreign fishing carried out on the high seas and in the Malvinas is illegal.

Regarding the conservation of resources: the efficient and sustainable administration of the fishing resource cannot be based only on conservation (ensuring the biological cycle; avoiding overfishing or fishing that has not reached sexual maturity, overfishing effort, etc.) but it is necessary to ensure the maximum possible exploitation, guaranteeing the sustainability of the species in perpetuity. Fishing a volume less than the Maximum Sustainable Yield or, in an inappropriate time and manner, is not fishing in a sustainable manner and the establishment of closed seasons is more efficient. , limitations or dynamic and transitory reserves than some MPAs. The arguments intended to defend this Project lack scientific rigor and are very far from the limitations of the project. On the other hand, establishing an MPA in percentage form is - in biological terms - a parameter erroneous, because this depends on the property to be protected and not on the reserved spaces. Judging by the data that the NGOs provided when managing the approval of the Namuncurá and Yaganes MPAs - and the same thing happens today - it would have been much more efficient to establish an MPA (as we have already suggested and substantiated) in the Malvinas, South Georgia and South Sandwich Area, where, from 1976 to date, 11,250,000 tons of Argentine fish and squid have been illegally extracted that intervene in the national fishing ecosystem causing unpredictable damage, regardless of the social connotations already mentioned in UNCLOS, which have prevented the development of the Argentine Patagonian coast.No result of having established an MPA compares to the magnitude of the predation mentioned.

The project on the strengthening of Argentine sovereignty in the sea says: This AMP " will strengthen State policy towards the sea (...) and national sovereignty over the sea (...) strengthens the Argentine presence in the sea (...) will be promoted State policy towards the sea, contributing to the sustainable use of natural assets and the strengthening of national sovereignty over our marine spaces …”

The author uses hollow political phrases without any political-technical basis; chatter would say former senator Vicente Leónidas Saadi. What national sovereignty over the sea and strengthening is he referring to? when the project cannot advance beyond 160,000 km2 to “control the platform, the bed and subsoil” (in the event that it did so ) and, Argentina, has 52% of the EEZ occupied by the United Kingdom and is unable to avoid predation and discarding in its own jurisdiction by its own and others and, where an average of two vessels per year on a population of between 350 and 500 vessels that operate illegally and none since the enactment of Law 27,564 in August 2020. It is really not serious to imagine that, with the establishment of an AMP of this type and in this place , Argentine sovereignty at sea will have to be strengthened. The effects that will have to be caused will be contrary.

Regarding the benefits to the economy, politics and national strategy, the Project says: " the multiple benefits that these conservation tools bring to the country's economy (...) contribute to the development of relevant activities for the regional economies of the Patagonian coast, such as wildlife-based tourism, which are not subsidized and make us competitive on an international scale (...) the sighting of species and natural spectacles in these coastal sites is sustained thanks to healthy and productive ocean spaces (...) the area has characteristics that highlight it for economic and political interests (...) increasing the percentage (of the AMPs) would result in environmental, economic, social and strategic benefits for Argentina... "No benefit is perceived or described for the economy, politics and the national strategy; rather, the implementation of this AMP will produce an increase in costs to the State and its taxpayers, who already contribute to the sustainability of resources, either through taxes or through the application of duties and other contributions to the National Fund. Fisheries (FONAPE) whose purpose - among others - is to solve the research of INIDEP and other institutes and the control forces. Provide sustainability to benthic species or take care of the bed and subsoil, although as I have said, it would not require an MPA. ; At present and in the face of national priorities - such as eradicating illegal fishing in the South Atlantic as I have said - in no way can it contribute to the economy, politics and national strategy and the argument used in the foundations is contradictory. : " No benthic resources are exploited in the area and their protection does not affect national economic interests, but would allow fishing exploitation by international fleets to be prevented."(…) The specific impact of benthic trawl fisheries in the area has not been quantified (…) the biomass of vulnerable benthic species increases significantly beyond 400 meters of depth… ».

I will not comment on the generation of tourism with this AMP, because it is idle.

In economic matters, rationalization of the human and technical resources of the public administration - as in the Namuncurá I and II and Yaganes AMPs - the Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries is placed (which according to Law 24,922 is the Authority of Application in fishing matters) and, to the Federal Fisheries Council, as mere members of the National System of Marine Protected Areas. That is, the fishing policy in that AMP, as in the aforementioned ones, would leave the orbit of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries of the Nation to move to the Environment and Sustainable Development, despite not modifying any of the articles of Law 24,922 and being absolutely incongruent with a coherent national and international fishing policy and national austerity. God knows what the Undersecretary of Fisheries thinks to delegate two of the three basic legs of fisheries administration: conservation and research and, I wonder: with what technical tools will the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development investigate if not through INIDEP vessels? With what would it control, if not with the Argentine Navy and the Naval Prefecture? How will it distribute the available resource if not as prescribed in Law 24,922? All means financed with FONAPE and the National Treasury, whose administration is carried out by the Undersecretariat of Fisheries and the Federal Fisheries Council.

Say that " currently, 8.2% of the marine spaces under the jurisdiction of the Argentine Republic are registered under the figure of marine protected areas " and that " Increasing this percentage would result in environmental, economic, social and strategic benefits of the "Argentine Republic " is absolutely false and fails to say that 1,070,000 km2 of the Southwestern Atlantic are an ecological reserve in Argentine marine territory unilaterally imposed by the United Kingdom, which occupies 52% of the Argentine EEZ, making our country the largest space marine areas are prohibited from commercial fishing in the world and this is unacceptable not only from an economic and social point of view, but also from a strategic point of view in relation to Patagonia, Antarctica, the South-South Atlantic and the relationship with the Pacific, the Indian Ocean and the Republic of Chile, is very serious.

The creation of an MPA of these characteristics would not " make it possible to prevent (NdA: in no way) fishing exploitation by international fleets " and referring to National Policy and Strategy in a project of this nature is simply grotesque. Policy and strategy It would be - dubiously - reserved for the “National Council for Affairs Relating to the Malvinas Islands, South Georgia Islands, South Sandwich Islands and the Corresponding Maritime and Island Areas” created by Law 27,558, which did not even address this project.

Nothing about economics, politics and strategy.High costs, poor results and very high risks.

Honestly, I must say that the authors of this initiative have not taken the trouble to read the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) or Law 24,922, which especially in its article 22 says: " With the In order to protect the preferential rights that correspond to the Nation in its capacity as a coastal State, the Enforcement Authority, together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (...) must organize and maintain a system for regulating fishing in the area adjacent to the Argentine EEZ, with respect to migratory resources or that belong to the same population or populations of species associated with those of the Argentine EEZ. To this end, Argentina will agree with the States that wish to fish those populations, in the aforementioned adjacent area. necessary measures to rationalize exploitation and ensure the conservation of resources. When limitations on fishing or closures are established, they will be extended to agreements made with third countries » and, evidently, they do not know the reasons why and how the illegal fishing by foreign vessels that fish from a distance, otherwise, no one could imagine that those same vessels (Chinese, Korean, Taiwanese, Spanish, etc.) that prey on the world's oceans would voluntarily register in a National Vessel Registry Foreigners in Argentina to operate in the “Agujero Azul” Benthic MPA , also keeping in mind that, in the best of cases, this MPA will have to be limited to the continental shelf, the bed and subsoil and not to the waters. They will continue Between 350 and 500 Chinese, Korean, Taiwanese, Spanish, etc. vessels are fishing in that area annually and will hinder the operations of Argentine fishing vessels that do occupy and thus exercise sovereignty in the Southwestern Atlantic.

Approving this MPA is a procedure that puts the horse behind the cart and ignores that foreign powers fish illegally around the world and, in addition to the connotations that this project could have regarding the Malvinas issue, it will further aggravate the difficulty for that Argentine vessels fish on the high seas; who, unusually, are charged fees for fishing outside of 200 miles, while foreign vessels do so in a subsidized manner and without any control. However, the project does not aim to and will not resolve illegal fishing by foreigners, but will add new obligations to national vessels that fish in that area.

Personally, I am opposed to this initiative and, I understand, that national vessels must be encouraged to fish on the high seas so that they do so on equal terms with foreign vessels that fish subsidized.

I will not go any further so as not to overwhelm the reader with the long technical explanations with which the project is sought to be based and, I will limit myself to saying, that to exercise police power over living or non-living natural resources, or over the presence of waste On the continental shelf, its bed and subsoil, no MPA is needed since with respect to marine pollution, UNCLOS even authorizes the application of penalties and law 24,922 art.21º inc.m) makes clear the prohibited practices that can be penalized with the utmost rigor by the Enforcement Authority.

The United Kingdom will be extremely interested in this project, which will give rise to new initiatives of this nature to protect the annual granting of fishing licenses to foreign and own vessels in the Malvinas and will accompany the “Blue Belt” Program with which the Kingdom The United Kingdom is in the process of “protecting” – according to former Foreign Minister Sir Alan Duncan – around 4 million km 2 (an area larger than India) around the so-called Overseas Territories, including illegally, the Malvinas.

The United Kingdom and the British Overseas Territories "are custodians" of the fifth largest marine area in the world and, under the pretext of protecting species and habitats against human action, they are occupying territories and, with this Argentine initiative and, emerge, a “blue belt” throughout the Argentine South-South Atlantic around the Malvinas. It would be enough to see any bicontinental plan approved by Argentina to realize the maritime protection around the Malvinas and the control of the south that that Kingdom has.

The Center for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS) and the Secretary of State's Marine Management Organization (which among other things grants fishing licences), are UK government agencies that support the development and appropriate marine management strategies in the British Overseas Territories.Under this pretext in 2016, the UK announced the designation of MPAs around St Helena (444,916km2) and Pitcairn (840,000km2), and a commitment to designate protection zones marine around Ascension Island (445,390km2) by 2019 and Tristan da Cunha (750,510km2) by 2020 and previously declared MPA Marine Protected Areas in the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT: 640,000 km2 designated in 2010); South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands (1.07 million km2 designated in 2011). The UK led an internationally approved MPA on the southern shelf of the South Orkney Islands, through the Convention on the Conservation of Living Resources Antarctic Marines (in supposed British Antarctic territory 94,000 km2 in 2009).

With these inconclusive policies, Argentina is reducing the powers of the Enforcement Authorities (Fisheries, Energy, Mining) and subordinates them to the National Parks Administration, a decentralized body that, within the orbit of the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, is the Application Authority of the so-called National System of Marine Protected Areas (SNAMPS). We need these issues to be dealt with by a Municipal Parks and Walks Directorate, while the United Kingdom has within its post-Brexit strategic plan to continue strengthening the British Territories of Ultramar to continue deploying its centuries-old naval policy, which it periodically reminds us of with its military exercises in the Malvinas in a “South Atlantic Peace and Promotion Zone”, which all American and African countries that have their EEZs in the South Atlantic signed.

The creation of marine reserves must be a step towards peace, not towards conflict ” (Ruth Davis, Chief Policy Advisor of Greenpeace, political advisor to the Environmental Organization).

Dr. César Augusto Lerena Expert in South Atlantic and Fisheries, former Secretary of State, former Secretary of Social Welfare (Ctes) former UNNE and FASTA University Professor, Former Advisor in the Chamber of Deputies and in the Senate of the Nation, author of 28 books, among them: “Malvinas.1982-2022.A heroic feat and 40 years of dedication.

By Agenda Malvinas


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