Argentina’s southernmost province is to ban open net salmon farming. The provincial legislature of Tierra del Fuego has approved a bill to outlaw the practice amid “concerns about stability”.
The Tierra del Fuego archipelago covers an area of 28,400 square miles (73,700 square kms) of which one third belongs to Argentina and two thirds forms part of Chile.
Ironically, it is probably the best region in the country for salmon farming. Three years ago the Norwegian and Argentine governments entered into a partnership arrangement to study the possibility of developing an aquaculture industry in the Beagle Channel which forms part of the archipelago.
The proposal immediately met with strong opposition from the regional administration which subsequently introduced a Bill to prohibit salmon farming. That bill was unanimously approved last week.
The ban also includes the South Atlantic Islands and the part of Antarctica over which the country has some influence.
Provincial deputy Pablo Villegas told the Buenos Aires Times that it was possible to say no to salmon farming if campaigners worked with their heads, and with passion and commitment.
Campaigners claim the introduction of salmon farming would threaten the region’s thriving tourist economy as well as having a detrimental impact on the environment.
The decision was hailed by Greenpeace which said: “Today, Ushuaia (the provincial capital of Tierra del Fuego) is protected from a harmful industry that has caused serious damage to the Chilean fjords and has seriously impacted local communities for decades.”
It has also been welcomed by neighbouring Chile.