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A Marine Protected Area in Malvinas-Falkland, South Georgia and South Sandwich

Click on the flag for more information about Argentina ARGENTINA
Monday, October 19, 2020, 16:00 (GMT + 9)


Faced with the extraction of fishing resources and the exploration and exploitation of oil in the Malvinas by the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, the Argentine government should Declare a Fishing and Environmental Emergency Zone to the area corresponding to the Archipelagos of Malvinas, South Georgia and Sándwich del Sur and the maritime territories up to two hundred (200) nautical miles measured from the base lines of the aforementioned Islands and in the total of the continental shelf, the bed and subsoil of the Argentine maritime space whose outer limits correspond to those established by law 27,557 and create a Marine Protected Area on the aforementioned Archipelagos.

In this writing, along with the justification, a bill is added declaring a Marine Protected Area to Malvinas, South Georgia and South Sandwich, to show before international organizations and specialized NGOs that while Argentina has a vocation to To preserve its resources, the United Kingdom carries out illegal fishing (IUU) and predates, by not complying with the environmental and sustainability rules imposed in Argentina in its seas.

The Coordinator of the Land Trust Marine Conservation Program Martina Sasso in 2018 (Infobae) wrote about the need to create Marine Protected Areas promoting the creation of the “Los Yaganes” National Park in Tierra del Fuego and the expansion of the Namuncurá-Burdwood Bank to the east of Isla de los Estados, 200 kilometers south of the Falkland Islands.

In this regard, she told us that «The oceanographic characteristics of the Argentine Sea, among them, its salinity, temperature, availability of nutrients and association with the Slope, where our platform functions as a sea river that fertilizes the platform waters and beyond. it (phytoplankton, zooplankton) and, from there, the entire trophic chain. Our platform is one of the largest in the world and the Malvinas current functions as its backbone.

For his part, the Biologist Claudio Campaña of the Wildlife Conservation Society, member of the Forum for the Conservation of the Patagonian Sea, tells us: «Protecting the areas where these life forms are found gives the reassurance that the processes will be maintained there more or less. less good. The sea has been exploited with a certain intensity for 30 or 40 years and the fishing activity has the potential to be the main threat, although this is going to extend to offshore hydrocarbon exploitation (...) There is an additional threat very little observed, related to jurisdictional conflicts, which do not favor integrated ecosystem management. And to this is added, climate change.

The Namuncurá-Burdwood Bank I and II and Yaganes (Laws 26,875 and 27,490) is an important source - says Sasso - that could repopulate other areas: "that is one of the advantages of Marine Protected Areas." What seems to be of great ecological benefit, has a problem: it protects the resources in an area under Argentine control, which serves to repopulate - due to the migratory currents of the species - the Malvinas area, which is under British possession. That is, the Argentines -according to Sasso- would be -with the creation of these spaces- "having a reserve of 10% of our sea", while the British in the Exclusive Economic Zone (hereinafter EEZ) Argentina in Malvinas would have occupied 438,000 km2, illegally exploiting (IUU) annually, about 250,000 tonnes of fishery resources without any control; which is a true environmental nonsense and unsustainability and depredation of national resources.

But, there is even more. The aforementioned Coordinator of the Marine Program tells us that: «in line with Argentina's commitment to the United Nations, which is based on its Strategic Plan for Biological Diversity 2011-2020, we could already set ourselves the goal of extending that protection to 20/30 % ».

I must specify that these limitations, prior to the determination of the Reserves, were taken by INIDEP, that is, commercial fishing suffered closures and other measures designed to give sustainability to the resource, therefore, in the maritime areas under Argentine control there were no predation; however, where it does exist is in the Malvinas area, where despite being an Argentine territory, the national authorities cannot control catches, discards, catching gear, etc.

Argentina establishes marine reserves in the area under its control and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (hereinafter the United Kingdom) continues to have as its first economic resource fishing through licenses to foreign vessels that fish in the area of Malvinas.

With 3,146,345 km2 of maritime territory in the Argentine EEZ, a reserve of 30% would represent 943,903.5 km2, that is to say that with the 1,639,900 km2 occupied by the United Kingdom, only 562,541.5 km2 would remain for Argentine fishing exploitation, without count the fishing closures established by INIDEP. That is, conservation 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 (IUU) with or without a British license in the Malvinas area or the Alta would remain as beneficiaries. Sea.

To this must be added that the United Kingdom established in 2012 the so-called “Ecological Sanctuary”, a protection area around South Georgia and South Sandwich equivalent to 1,070,000 km2 and, four times larger than the surface. UK continental total. This space is controlled by naval patrols that are financed with fishing permits, despite being a signatory - like Argentina - of the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR).

These uncontrolled spaces, plus the maritime territories where illegal fishing (IUU) is 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 treated together with the rest of the Argentine EEZ of a single ecosystem - as indicated by the CONVEMAR - that must be managed together. In areas 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 trophic chain of the species and, by the way, the extractions carried out by national companies in the Argentine EEZ. There is no sure way to establish the Maximum Annual Sustainable Yield with such a lack of control in the South Atlantic.

To all this is added the oil exploration and exploitation in the Argentine EEZ of the Malvinas area by the United Kingdom, whose lack of control and the corresponding environmental impact studies by Argentina means that the national government must take a precautionary approach in order not only to preserve the marine environment, but also the fishing resources of the area and the ecosystem as a whole.

In this scenario, the area corresponding to the Malvinas, South Georgia and South Sandwich Archipelagos and the maritime territories up to two hundred (200) nautical miles measured from the base lines of the aforementioned Islands would correspond to be declared a Fishing and Environmental Emergency Zone. in the total of the continental platform, the bed and subsoil of the Argentine maritime space whose outer limits correspond to those indicated in law 27,557, until the competent authorities of Argentina can permanently control the marine environment and the Maximum Sustainable Yields of the fishing operation carried out in the area in question.

Understanding, on the other hand, that if Argentina in the vocation of ensuring the sustainability of species has already declared two Protected Maritime Areas (Namuncurá and Yaganes) with an approximate surface area of ​​100 thousand km2, despite the fact that by Law 24,922 and through INIDEP reserves, closures, etc. can be established, with more reason, it should establish a Marine Protected Area until the situation of occupation and lack of control ceases, in a territory that is dominated by the United Kingdom, Argentina it cannot exercise any control, even more so when the United Kingdom - as I said - has unilaterally established an Ecological Reserve around South Georgia and the South Sandwich.  

For all this I suggest the issuance of the following LAW:


The Senate and Chamber of Deputies of the Argentine Nation meeting in Congress, etc.

sanction with force of law: 

ARTICLE 1 The area corresponding to the Malvinas, South Georgia and South Sandwich Archipelagos and the maritime territories up to two hundred (200) nautical miles measured from the base lines of the aforementioned Islands and in the total of the continental platform and the waters superjacent to the bed and subsoil of the Argentine maritime space whose outer limits correspond to the outer limit indicated in law 27,557. 

ARTICLE 2 The Marine Protected Area on the Malvinas, South Georgia and South Sandwich Archipelagos is hereby created, made up of the management categories of the Strict Marine National Reserve, over maritime territories up to two hundred (200) nautical miles measured from the baselines of the aforementioned Islands and the total of the continental platform and the waters superjacent to the bed and subsoil of the Argentine maritime space whose outer limits correspond to the outer limit established by law 27,557. As of the promulgation of this present law, the Argentine marine space detailed in this article will be subject to the regime of Law 27,037, its regulatory and / or amending standards. 

ARTICLE 3 The objective of the Strict Marine National Reserve Area indicated in Article 2 shall be to conserve marine biodiversity and ecological processes in the long term, reducing any anthropic impact as much as possible and to be reserved as essential reference areas for scientific research and monitoring. , as well as for control and surveillance activities. Its use for these purposes must be strictly controlled and limited to Argentina and the following will be prohibited: a) Surface and submarine military exercises that generate or impact on species and ecosystems and the disposal of residues from such activity; b) Surface and underwater water sports; c) Hunting and fishing in any of its forms; d) Any type of prospecting, exploration and extractive activity in the seabed and subsoil; e) The recreational and educational public visit; f) The introduction, transplantation and propagation of chemical elements and biological products of any kind, including sowing or repopulation with native species.

ARTICLE 4 Except hereby from the limitation provided for in Article 1 subsection a) of Law 27,037.

ARTICLE 5 Except for this area from the provisions of Article 13 of Law 27.037 and, while the competent authorities of Argentina cannot independently, autonomously and permanently control the marine environment through INIDEP; the continental shelf; the exploration or exploitation of hydrocarbons and, the Maximum Sustainable Returns of the fishing exploitation that are carried out in the aforementioned area or on its migratory resources, the preceding articles 1 and 2 will remain in full force.

ARTICLE 6 In accordance with the provisions of Articles 10 and 11 of Law 27.037, the Enforcement Authority will create a duly representative Advisory Committee that includes government agencies, scientists, universities, and experts in marine, fisheries and Malvinas war veterans to review and evaluate any aspect of the conservation or administration policies on the marine protected area created.

ARTICLE 7 The maritime areas and the corresponding continental shelves of South Georgia and the South Sandwich area that correspond to the Multilateral System of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR / CCAMLR) will be automatically exempted from the planned Marine Protected Area in this Law, when the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland cancels its claim to establish the EEZ around those archipelagos and the so-called Ecological Sanctuary established around it by this Kingdom unilaterally.

ARTICLE 8 The expenditures required by compliance with this Law will be allocated to the budget foreseen for the application of Law 27.037.

ARTICLE 9 The Province of Tierra del Fuego, Antarctica and the South Atlantic Islands is invited to adhere to this Law.

ARTICLE 10 Communicate to the National Executive Power.

When they tell me that the United Kingdom has everything under control in the Malvinas, I remind them that "a pile of stones is not a house" (Henri Poincaré) 

Dr. César Augusto Lerena

Expert in South Atlantic and Fisheries, former Secretary of State, former Secretary of Social Welfare (Ctes), former Professor at UNNE and FASTA University, former Advisor in the H. Chamber of Deputies and in the Senate of the Nation, author of 25 books (among them "South Atlantic, Malvinas and Federal Fisheries Reform", 2019).

October 19, 2020 ©(All copyrights reserved, PV-2019-111395163-APN-DNDA).

Copyright © *|2020|* *|César Lerena|*, All rights reserved.
*|ILista|* *|César Lerena|*

[email protected]


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