ARGENTINA’s economic zone has been flooded by Chinese jiggers illegally catching tons of illex squid but the Falklands has not suffered the same, says Director of Natural Resources Dr Andrea Clausen.

This is possibly because this year the Falkland current has shifted west, and squid has been ‘pushed’ by the current from the high seas area into the Argentinean EEZ, explained Dr Clausen to Penguin News this week.

According to South American news agency Mercopress the Association of Argentine Fishing Industry Chambers has sent an urgent open letter to the Argen- tine President Alberto Fernandez complaining about the illegal ac- tivity of almost a hundred foreign jiggers in the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). The letter demanded: “Without any delay, we expect the necessary operational mechanisms are put in place for a greater and standing control and patrolling of the national maritime spaces, applying the most severe sanctions to any offender vessel.”

Dr Clausen told Penguin News: “Usually this large group of around 400 Chinese jiggers and trawlers are fishing on the high seas. At the start of our Illex season there were large numbers of vessels congregated just along the perimeter of our EEZ but these are now largely gone,” having followed the squid into the Argentine zone.

She said: “The area that this poaching has been reported in is a long way north of our EEZ. Whilst the Illex being caught are all part of the same stock, we have had a reasonable year for catches with the total catch of Illex thus far just over 60,000 mt.”