MLA Jan Cheek. (Photo: Mercopress)
Govt criticises Argentina over 'indiscriminate' fishing
Friday, May 25, 2012, 02:10 (GMT + 9)
A member of the Falkland Islands elected Legislative Assembly this week accused Argentina for “indiscriminate and uncontrolled” fishing.
When speaking at the Falklands Government budget session prior to the speech from the Acting Financial Secretary, MLA Jan Cheek also expressed regret over the lack of cooperation with the country to protect fisheries in the South Atlantic Ocean.
She noted that it is a good sign that the Falklands fishing industry was first born 25 years ago and is still going strong.
“[This] is proof that we have achieved sustainability at least in those fisheries that are largely contained in our zone, for example the loligo squid industry," Cheek stated, Penguin News reports.
”Others, as we know, are subject to indiscriminate and uncontrolled fishing both on the high seas and in the Argentine controlled areas close to our zone. The stark contrast between loligo which we can control in our zone and the blue whiting stock emphasises yet again the need for a regional grouping to cooperate on sustainable fishing and conservation of stocks, not just for the Falklands, not just for other countries in the area but for the world," she continued.
The GBP 14 million (USD 22 million) budget surplus mainly consisted of income from the sale of fishing licences, according to the Falkland Island Government.
The Government of the Falklands unilaterally decided to change the conditions for granting fishing licenses, which are now given for 25 years, and this move generated a strong opposition from Argentina.
Now, the new Ambassador of Argentina in London, Alicia Castro, has begun reviewing the mandate of the so-called Committee of South Atlantic Fisheries, which was formed from the Joint Declaration on the conservation of fisheries resources between Argentina and the UK in 1990. While its goal was to establish the cooperation of the two nations on scientific research and data exchange, this is not currently happening.
John Barton, director of Natural Resources of the Falklands, said that cooperation must be discussed before the fisheries contracts could be renegotiated.
This week, Cheek stressed the islands’ disappointment that Argentina still does not treat the Falklands as its own independent entity.
”It is a matter of disappointment to us that Argentina that regained democracy as a result of failing to annexe the Falkland Islands still does not recognise our democracy and right to self determination," she commented.
As far as promoting the interests of the Falklands, she said the government will not be able to relax as long as Argentina keeps up its “colonial ambitions.”
- Efforts to renegotiate fisheries agreements with Falkland Islands
By Natalia Real