I'm sorry, I couldn't resist! I just couldn't resist. But of course it's not really true. Argentina and the British-owned Falkland Islands have been fighting over their squid resources since "a long time ago", but this latest news is hot off the press. And the ocean may feel "far, far away" to those of us in the northern hemisphere, but it's very close to home for all the squid fishermen in the Southern Ocean, and the civilians who depend on the economies they support.
Now, according to The Telegraph,
Argentina has reportedly started a "squid war" against the Falkland Islands, telling fishermen to catch the creatures before they reach the waters around the British territory. . . . Illex squid start their one-year lives off the River Plate, which marks the border of Argentina and Uruguay, in September and move southwards as they grow.If this is really the plan for Argentinian fishermen, not only will they be catching as many squid as possible, but they'll probably be catching them younger and smaller, a trend which feels all too familiar.
But is it true? The Telegraph article doesn't include any quotes from Argentinian officials, which seems a little (forgive me) fishy. And the adverb "reportedly" is an odd choice. The Telegraph is, indeed, reporting it, so did someone else report it to them?
I went hunting for coverage of the issue in Argentinian papers, and didn't find anything on the supposed mandate to "catch the creatures" before they reach the Falkland Islands. But I did find some meta-reports on the British reporting, such as this piece in Buenos Aires Económico:
Por el momento, no hay información oficial sobre incentivos a la pesca en zonas linderas. Tanto desde Cancillería como de la Secretaría de Pesca y Acuicultura se desligaron de las versiones surgidas en Londres, aunque ninguna de estas dos áreas las desmintió. Desde el área a cargo del control pesquero, incluso, señalaron a BAE que cualquier información al respecto será dada “exclusivamente por Presidencia”.Translation*: At the moment, there is no official information about fishing incentives in areas bordering [the Malvinas]. The Foreign Ministry as well as the Secretary of Fish and Agruiculture distanced themselves from the rumors appearing in London, although neither of the two denied them. Even those in charge of fishing control told BAE that any information on the subject would be given "exclusively by the Presidency".
There's some talented diplomacy--I'm not sure that I could distance myself from information without denying it. It rather sounds like the Argentinian government did make some kind of decision, to which the Argentinian press is not yet privvy, and to which the British press may or may not be overreacting. Yay. Guess who's caught in the middle? That would be the squid.
It's reminiscent of the "tragedy of the commons" but it's more like the "tragedy of the long-standing bitter blood feud." It's hardly as bad as Israel and Palestine, but the ongoing animosity really, really doesn't bode well for the future of I. argentinus. Which, in turn, doesn't bode well for the long-term economy of either country. Will they ever be able to manage the fishery cooperatively?
* I learned Spanish in Spain and practiced in Mexico, so it's possible I'm missing any subtleties specific to Argentinian Spanish, but the gist is pretty obvious.
N.B.: I accidentally posted this before I was done writing it--I tried to take it down quickly, but I apologize if you read the first, shorter version and are wondering what happened to it.