The toothfishwhich lives in the vicinity of Patagonia and is one of the most expensive fish in the world, triggered a conflict between three world powers.
This fish, which in the United States is marketed more than 70 dollars per kilo and appears on the menus of the most renowned restaurants around the world, originated a fishing conflict that intensified when Great Britain granted licenses for the fishing of this species.
The fishing area is off South Georgia, a remote, uninhabited island that is controlled by the United Kingdom. It is located about 1,400 kilometers east of the Falkland Islands.
South Georgia (Oil painting by George Cummings/)
This is the first time such a conflict has occurred since different governments joined forces 40 years ago to protect marine life near the South Pole.
During this season, there will be no limits to the amount that can be caught, which is generally set by the Antarctic Marine Living Resources Conservation Commission.
Now, a sea territory the size of France has become an industry without rules, at least that’s what US officials believe. As a consequence, they threaten to ban British imports from the area.
“In a world full of conflict, the UK plays a dangerous game,” said Will McCallum, oceans director at Greenpeace’s UK affiliate. “The history of Antarctic protection has been characterized by peaceful cooperation for the common good of humanity. Russia’s continued readiness to abuse the process does not excuse unilateral actions by other members. We hope that the nations that in the past imported the sharptooth fish from South Georgia they will not accept the product of what is now unregulated fishing,” he added.
US President Joe Biden walks with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson outside the Carbis Bay Hotel in Cornwall, Britain, ahead of the G7 summit, on June 10, 2021. (Toby Melville/Pool Photo via AP)
For many years, the fishery off South Georgia was an example of international cooperation, bringing together often rival powers such as Russia, China and the United States, with the goal of protecting those waters from the kind of rampant fishing seen at sea. open.
In 2021, when tensions with the West were rising over Ukraine, Russia decided to reject limits on fishing for Patagonian toothfish willing. The measure turned out to be like a unilateral veto because unanimous solutions are traditionally sought.
Some argue that the UK’s response, which issued licenses without the limits set by CCAMLR, It is illegal and weakens the Antarctic Treaty that was approved during the Cold War and declares the Antarctic continent an area of scientific interest.
US President Joe Biden and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin
U.S. officials have told Britain privately that they may ban imports of toothfish caught near South Georgia, according to a report published by Associated Press.
This problem occurs at times when decreases the number of fish around the world due to overfishing. In parallel, consumers are demanding greater transparency about the origin of their fillets.
“It sets a dangerous precedent,” said Evan Bloom, who for 15 years, until he retired from the State Department in 2020, headed the US delegation to CCAMLR. “What the Russians did clearly violates the spirit of science-based fishing”, held. And he added: “It does not necessarily mean that the UK can act unilaterally.”