Oceanosanos, organizer of the event, was the NGO that denounced the arrival of one crew dead per month to the port of Montevideo
DINARA and the Coast Guard spoke about the arriving of deceased crew in Montevideo and illegal fishing
Thursday, November 26, 2020, 00:10 (GMT + 9)
In the framework of the second conference on Oceans held in Uruguay, the agency tried to dismiss the complaints that exist about lack of control in the port of Montevideo. The director of DINARA asked the countries of the region to join the FAO Governing Port program.
The Oceanosanos organization had its second conference with exhibitors from Uruguay, Brazil and Argentina. The protection of the ocean in a regional way under the concept of a single sea and the promotion of Marine Protected Areas under different concepts were the main themes. A separate chapter deserved Unreported and Unregulated Illegal Fishing, which was in charge of DINARA and the Naval Prefecture of Uruguay. The former tried a poor defense on the accusations of a low level of control, while the security force presented figures that justify the accusations that fall on the port of Montevideo. The director of DINARA asked the countries of the region to adhere to the FAO Governing Port agreement in order to improve controls in the South Atlantic and the Prefecture announced that it is working with twelve countries in the region on a standard to control the joint the fleet that operates in the South Atlantic, in order to attack unregulated fishing and discourage the supply of ships at sea.
Satellite monitoring of the ships that operate outside the Uruguayan-Argentine EEZ and that finally enter the port of Montevideo (Photo: courtesy of VisiónMaritima)
At the second Conference on Oceans in Uruguay, many interesting topics were addressed, almost all related to the need to move towards a new conception of the region's seas as one and from this imprint to develop biodiversity protection networks. The formation of Marine Protected Areas in national and international jurisdictions has posed the challenge of closing 30 percent of the oceans by 2030.
Regarding the representativeness of the protected areas, fishing has been mentioned as a source of conflict that must be addressed considering the impact on the activity. But with regard to international waters, it was reported that the agreement being worked on within the UN aims to cover areas in which intensive fishing is not carried out, to avoid conflict.
Fishing vessels from different countries call at the port of Montevideo (Photo: stockfile)
The international agreement that is expected to be signed next year for the protection of the oceans, makes it clear that the damages caused by illegal or unreported and unregulated fishing in the South Atlantic to the Argentine fishing industry and its resources will not find there a solution. Our country must advance in other types of agreements if it intends to stop the advance of the foreign fleet.
In this context, the role that Uruguay occupies is decisive, given that it is already known to all that it has established itself as the great supplier of the fleet that operates in the South Atlantic, many times allowing boats suspected of illegal fishing or violations of regulations. human rights enter the port of Montevideo and make use of its multiple services.
The Uruguayan government, aware of this label that has been posted in recent years, took advantage of the conference to test a defense of their actions and demand greater commitment from the countries of the region, given that, despite its obvious deficiencies, Uruguay is the only country that has adhered to the FAO Port State Control Treaty.
The director of DINARA, Jaime Coronel, said in this regard: "We are the only country that has signed the treaty of the State Rector of the Port, it is a challenge for us that the rest of the countries of the region sign that agreement and commit themselves" and added that they should not be the only country, much less if one takes into account that it is the smallest and with the least oceanographic coastline.
“It would be essential to have an ORP (Regional Fisheries Organization) that controls the western South Atlantic but it does not depend only on Uruguay, Uruguay has the will, now it depends on all coastal states getting to work, it is essential that this agreement be signed in order to improve what we are doing, "said Coronel.
The entry of the vessels is made by simple affidavit, in which they assure they have not carried out IUU fishing and a statement from the captain about the catch they bring in the hold by species and tonnage. After analyzing the information, they decide whether to carry out an inspection.
According to data from the Ports Administration, in 2019 284 foreign fishing boats and 21 reefers entered the port of Montevideo. But only 34 fishing boats were subject to inspection, including 3 Chinese, 4 Spanish and 3 Korean vessels, reported from DINARA.
The port of Montevideo has two private terminals: Terminal Granelera Montevideo (TGM), specialized in the movement of bulk, and Terminal Cuenca del Plata (TCP), specialized in containers. On the other hand, it has the public terminal managed by ANP from where the fishing vessels operate.
But illegal fishing is not the only problem that a large part of the fleet that operates in the South Atlantic presents, but also violations of human rights. In this sense, the Director of DINARA valued the new control mechanisms applied to starting from the protocols for Covid-19.
At this moment, said Coronel, “we know who each of the foreign crew members who embark from our country are, and we cannot let this opportunity pass us by, we must always know. We must improve the technology and controls but we must say what is being controlled, the forest and the tree are being seen ”.
Oceanosanos, organizer of the event, was the NGO that denounced the arrival of one death per month to the port of Montevideo from the activity in the South Atlantic and from DINARA they took advantage of the conference to try to refute them. "From 2017 to 2020 we have received 26 deaths, which averages 6.5 deaths per year, it is not giving a deceased per month," declared an official of the state agency.
The coordinator of Oceanosanos, Rodrigo García, who will soon become the Secretary of the Environment in Rocha, did not defend his complaint or open the space for questions as proposed by the official body. On the other hand, he congratulated them on the progress they have made in two years in this part and gave them a present, recycled glasses "so that they know them"
The situation was strange, but a subsequent presentation by the Uruguayan National Prefecture allowed to infer that it was not necessary to debate because the data spoke for itself. The security forces revealed that between 2013 and 2020 only 58 deceased crew members landed from fishing and river transport.
During that period, every 1.2 months a crew member arrived at the port of Montevideo in a wooden crate. Among them are 20 Chinese, 16 Ghanaians and 4 Filipinos traveling in fishing boats. So say the official figures.
From the Prefecture, which works jointly with DINARA on control and inspection, they reported that in 2020 only 2 Chinese ships and one Spanish were inspected and for the cases presented they indicated that "it was found that there was no violation" of rights humans, but the entire crew expressed their desire "to be disembarked and repatriated." Situation that could at least be considered suspicious.
In order to have a regulation that gives greater freedom of action when conducting inspections on suspicious vessels, they announced from the Prefecture that they are working on a treaty with twelve countries in the region that aims to discourage unregulated fishing and the supply of ships at sea.
Once the text of the standard has been agreed, it must be presented to the International Maritime Organization and wait for the countries to adhere in order to implement it; It is a very interesting action but it will take time. That is why it is imperative that both our country and our neighbors begin to work with the tools that are already available to stop uncontrolled Olympic fishing in the South Atlantic.
Landing of a deceased crew member. A sad photo that is repeated in the port of Montevideo (Photo: courtesy Milko Schvartzman) ►
On the other hand, from the Global Fishing Watch organization, in this same conference, they have offered their services so that the countries of the region have cutting-edge technology in terms of monitoring, which would allow coverage of the maritime platform and adjacent areas much higher than the current one, reducing costs and improving effectiveness. Tools exist, the decision to use them is political.
As the Director of DINARA points out, it is inconceivable that only Uruguay has adhered to the FAO Port State Steering Program, the responsibility of discouraging illegal fishing cannot fall on a single country. Above all, because it is clear that the work they are doing is very limited and full of flaws.
Autor: Karina Fernandez / Revisa Puerto