Illegal fishing suspected in fleets that go ‘dark’

Giant distant-water fishing fleets, primarily from China, are switching off their tracking beacons to evade detection while they engage in a possibly illegal hunt for squid and other lucrative species on the very edge of Argentina’s extensive fishing grounds, according to a new study by Oceana, an international NGO dedicated to ocean conservation.

Every year, vessels crowd together along the limits of Argentina’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) to take advantage of the lucrative fishing grounds.

By monitoring the ships’ tracking beacons between January 2018 and April 2021, Oceana found that more than 800 vessels apparently conducted nearly 900,000 hours of fishing within 20 nautical miles of the invisible border between Argentina’s national waters and the high seas.