Falklands fury: Argentina’s fishing claims are ‘nonsense’ – waters belong to the Falklands

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Graham Pascoe, who has just published his book, Falklands Facts and Fallacies, was responding to remarks by Eduardo Pucci, the Organisation for the Protection of Fishery Resources (OPRAS). A piece published on the website of Telam, the official Argentinian government news agency, last week claimed “illegal fishing” cost the country up to £1.5billion annually.

In the piece, Mr Pucci criticised “predators that exploit resources without respecting processes, cycles or regulations”.

He added: “Illegal fishing has three components: The illegal fishing itself, which is carried out in the absence of permits; the unreported; and the unregulated.

“In adjacent waters, the only ones that comply with the rules are Argentine vessels, the rest violate the duty of cooperation, the ecosystem principle and responsible fishing, without taking into account any conservation measure.”

Mr Pucci’s remarks echo those of Carlos Liberman, undersecretary of Fisheries and Aquaculture, who told Telam recently “the fight against illegal fishing is an absolute priority.”

Mr Liberman cited “that which occurs in Malvinas waters” as an example.

However, Mr Pascoe, whose book seeks to refute what he characterises as the “bogus history” of the islands as set out in the 2016 book Las Malvinas entre el Derecho y la Historia, by Marcelo Kohen and Facundo Rodiguez, was unimpressed.

He told Express.co.uk: “It’s not true that the fishing referred to in Falklands waters is “illegal”, as Argentina constantly asserts.

“The territorial waters and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) belong to the coastal state, ie the Falklands, not Argentina.

“So it’s not illegal in international law, but only in Argentine national law.”

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He added: “There is no depredation of the seas by the Falklanders Islanders.

“In fact, the Falklands fishery is one of the most strictly managed fisheries in the world and meets or exceeds all international environmental, sustainability and ecological standards.

“And that fishing is not basically done by the Falkland Islanders, but by foreign vessels (mainly Spanish, Korean and Taiwanese) holding licences from the Falkland Islands government.

“Only Falkland Islands regulations (laid down by the Falkland Islands Government) are enforced around the Falklands, and only British regulations are enforced around South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.

“Argentina has no presence in those areas and exerts no enforcement.”

Mr Pascoe said Mr Pucci’s claims about vessels failing to comply with regulations were “nonsense”.

He said: “All fishing carried out in Falklands, South Georgia and South Sandwich waters meets the very highest international standards.”

The Falklands are a British overseas territory, with a population of just over 3,200.

Argentina, led by Peronist President Alberto Fernandez, has signalled its intention to press its sovereignty claim in recent weeks.

A referendum on the issue of sovereignty in 2013 resulted in 99.8 percent (1,513) voting in favour of the Falklands retaining its British links, with 92 percent of those eligible to vote doing so.

Just three people voted against the idea, with two invalid ballots.

Falklands Facts and Fallacies is available at http://www.falklandshistory.com

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