By Elijah Mt. Castle
A Chinese fishing fleet has returned to the waters around Argentina. This fleet has returned year after year to fish outside of Argentina’s economic exclusion zone (EEZ). The coastal waters inside of the EEZ are biodiverse and home to the second largest squid fishery in the world. Around half of the world’s shortfin squid is caught within Argentina’s waters. The shortfin squid market can generate upwards of $2.4 billion dollars a year. While legal to fish outside of the 200-mile EEZ, portions of the fishing fleet will fish illegally within Argentina’s EEZ. The fishing vessels will turn off their Automatic Identification Systems (AIS) to cross over the EEZ border and fish in Argentinian waters. These illegal fishing practices are estimated to produce upwards of $36 billion globally. Of the fishing vessels near Argentina 69% are Chinese, the other portions being made up of South Korean, Taiwanese, and Spanish vessels. The main type of vessel used is the squid jigger. These types of vessels use lights to attract squids to the surface that then get snagged on the many fishing lines/hooks. Pictured are the VIIRS Day/Night Band average radiances for April 2019-2022.