By William Helms
Argentina is a nation with rich, natural squid resources. Its exclusive economic zone (EEZ) is one of the best places for squid fishing on Earth. The EEZ, spanning for 200 nautical miles from any point of the Argentinean coast, is home to the Argentine shortfin Squid. Because some of the best areas for squid fishing are just near the EEZ boundary, fishing fleets from other countries try to catch these squid by getting as close as possible to the Argentinean EEZ. There are even reports that some fishing vessels will disable their GPS tracking monitors and attempt to sneak into the EEZ, thus catching hundreds of thousands of pounds of squid that legally belong to Argentina. A story by MercoPress from April 28 asserts a fleet of Chinese fishing ships have been doing just that.
The image above gives a few different views of this popular squid fishing spot. On the left, we have a portion of the “Trip the Light Fantastic” image which is comprised of years’ worth of data from VIIRS Boat Detection (VBD) put together with the white spots representing areas with high average concentrations of light – popular places for fishing boats to be. It shows the area just outside of Argentina’s EEZ is a very common place to find fishing ships clustered. On the right side of the image we have VBD data from a specific date. April 1, 2019 shows a fairly average night of fishing with large groups of ships pressed up to the Argentinean EEZ border. Some ships can even be seen just over the boundary, meaning if they are not Argentinean vessels, they are risking detection to attempt to catch some of the valuable squid resource within the EEZ.