Squid Trade in Falklands (SQUID)

CASE NAME:Squid Trade in Falklands

1. The Issue

Argentina's relations with England have been strained since the Falkland/Malvinas War of 1982. Tensions rose again when England unilaterally extended its exclusive fishing zone around the Falkland/Malvinas during July 1994. England maintained that it was protecting the illex squid from over-exploitation. Argentina, which competes with England and Asian fishermen for squid, charged that the English were driven by political motivations. The two nations have silently competed to strengthen their overlapping claims to the Antarctic continent. Argentine sovereignty over the Falkland/Malvinas and other islands in the area (such as South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands) would reinforce their claims to Antarctica.

2. Description

The English began to colonize the Falkland/Malvinas in January, 1833 shortly after a U.S. warship expelled Argentinean settlers. Argentina has vowed to regain these islands since England took control of them. On April 2, 1982, the Argentine military invaded the Falkland/Malvinas despite President Reagan's warning. Though the military government of Argentina had predicted that England would not react strongly, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher moved quickly to retake the Falkland Islands. Argentina suffered a humiliating defeat during the 1982 war: Argentina was forced to withdraw from the islands which they still claimed. The unpopular military regime was also forced to relinquish its power.

England and Argentina reestablished diplomatic relations in 1990, but the Falkland/Malvinas still spark political, economic, and cultural tensions. As recently as January, Argentine President Carlos Menem predicted that the Malvinas would again be Argentina's by the year 2000. When England expanded their exclusive fishing zone (around the Malvinas) in July, 1994 by 850 miles, Argentina became outraged. Britain maintained that it had expanded its conservation zone to protect the illex squid from over- exploitation. Argentina countered this explanation by accusing England of responding to Argentina's 1994 Constitution, which extends the country's fishing rights to the Falkland/Malvinas.

Until July, England and Argentina had jointly monitored 'the gap', as the patrol area is called, from illegal fishing north of the Falkland/Malvinas. Though nationalism and politics have clouded the environmental issue, the illex squid and other species off the coast of the Falkland/Malvinas are in danger of over- exploitation. Squid's domestic (Argentinean) price has risen over sixty percent because of decreases in catches and rising demand in Europe and China. Fishing, moreover, accounts for sixty percent of the Falkland/Malvina Islanders' incomes.

3. Related Cases

Keyword Clusters

(1): Trade Product = FISH
(2): Bio-geography = OCEANS
(3): Environmental Problem = Species Law Sea [SPLS]

4. Draft Author: Jay Krasnow


5. Discourse and Status: DISagreement and Allegation [ALLEGE]

Although Argentina and England continue to exchange accusations, armed conflict does not appear to be imminent. Argentine Foreign Minister Guido Di Tella advised U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher of his concerns, but the United States has taken no action. Argentina will maintain its position, but has not taken any legal action.

6. Forum and Scope: UK and BILATeral

7. Decision Breadth: 2 (UK and Argentina)

While England and Argentina are most concerned about the protection zone/squid depletion dispute, a large number of parties have been involved, are presently involved, or may become involved in the future. Principle among the are the 'kelpers' --as native of the Falkland Islands are known -- who earn a lopsided amount of their income from fishing and selling fishing licenses. Many countries, including China, have a high demand for the illex squid for a wide variety of cultural dishes. Greenpeace and the World Wildlife Fund, which are concerned about over-exploitation of squid and other marine life urge that mandatory management and regulation of international waters. The European Community, which is also interested in fishing in the area, has paid Argentina 162.5 million Ecus to fish 130,000 million tons/year of squid and cod, is still concerned about disputes over the sovereignty of the Falkland/Malvinas. Scientists are also concerned about the potential depletion of the illex squid. A number of marine biologists consider squid important to understanding the human nervous system. They view squid as a key to unraveling the mysteries behind cell transport breakdown which brings on Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.

8. Legal Standing: TREATY and LAW

Argentina's 1994 Constitution extends the country's rights to the Falkland/Malvinas, although England does not recognize that right. The two countries negotiated the expansion of its fishing zone west of the Falklands so that kelpers (Falkland Island inhabitants) could meet quotas. According to their treaty, 'kelpers' may fish 150,000 metric tons of squid per year and Argentina may fish 222,000 metric tons of squid per year.


9. Geographic Locations

Since Argentina and England have involved the United States in the past, the United States remains concerned about potential conflicts in the South Atlantic. As a member of the Organization of American States, the United States' interests in the South Atlantic are almost intrinsic. The 150-year old Monroe Doctrine also declares that the United States' would protect its interests in the Western Hemisphere. For political and economic reasons, non-squid-eating European Community nations are also interested in the Falkland/Malvinas conflict. During the 1982 war, the EC placed sanctions on Argentina for invading the South Atlantic island. If the dispute escalated to armed conflict again, it is almost certain that they would support England. The Falkland Island Government (FIG) began issuing fishing licenses to foreign fishermen in 1987. Since then, licensing revenues have been the crown jewels of the Falkland Islands' economy. In 1992, FIG issued seventy-five licenses to Spain and sixty-three to Japan. It issued seventy-one to Taiwan in 1993.

a. Geographic Domain: South America [SAMER]
b. Geographic Site: South Atlantic [SATL]
c. Geographic Impact: ARGENtina

10. Sub-National Factors: YES

11. Type of Habitat: OCEAN


12. Type of Measure: QUOTA

13. Direct vs. Indirect Impacts: INDirect

14. Relation of Measure to Impact:

Both parties seem to be more concerned about sovereignty over the Falkland/Malvinas than the depletion of the illex squid off the islands' coast.

a. Directly Related: YES SQUID b. Indirectly Related: NO c. Not Related: NO d. Related to Process: YES Species Loss Sea [SPLS]

15. Trade Production Identification: SQUID

The product is technically known as illex squid (Illex argentinus.)

16. Economic Data

17. Impact of Measure on Trade Competitiveness: LOW

Few trade barriers regulation the squidding industry. Some of them include: a United Nations ban on fishing nets, kelper's selling of fishing licenses and quotas. If squidding continues at this rate, the illex squid will be in danger of extinction. However, the National Marine Fisheries Services reports that "[a]n effective international fisheries management program is critical for the Falklands. The annual illex squid fishery is particularly vulnerable to over-fishing by unlicensed distant-water fisherman..."

18. Industry Sector: FOOD

19. Exporters and Importers: UK and CHINA

Poland imported 16,932 metric tons in 1992 and Spain 947 metric tons in 1992.


20. Environmental Problem Type: SPLS

21. Name, Type, and Diversity of Species

If the illex squid becomes extinct, it will break a link in the food chain and affect other species that normally would feed on it. The species listed below represent the catches of the kelpers. It is likely that all of them would be affected if fishermen depleted the illex squid to extinction.

Argentine hake (Merluccius hubbsi)
Falkland sprat (Sprattus fuegenisis)
Illex squid (Illex argentinus)
Magellan mussel (Aulacomya ater)
Patagonian blennie (Eleginops maclovinus)
Patagonian grenadier (Macruronus magellaniscus)
Patagonian toothfish (Issostichus eleginoids)
Pink cusk eel (Genypt blacodes)
Sevenstar flying squid (Martialia hyadesi)
Softshell red crab (Paralomis granulosa)
Southern blue whiting (Salilota australis)

22. Resource Impact and Effect: HIGH and SCALE

23. Urgency and Lifetime: MEDium

24. Substitute: NO


25. Culture: YES

The squid/protection zone dispute was much more a cultural conflict between England and Argentina than an economic or environmental dispute. The two countries have not only clashed over the ownership of the islands, they also have claimed overlapping wedges of Antarctica (see ANTARC case. However, many nations depend on squid as an essential ingredient in a wide variety of cultural dishes. Some these nations include China, France, Italy, Germany, Norway, Mexico, Morocco, Ethiopia, Russia, India, and Bangladesh. Squid is also popular in cajun dishes as was extensively eaten in ancient Rome. The typical illex squid dish might include the following ingredients:

"1.5 pounds of clean squid (at least 2/3 of the should be large enough to stuff)
3/4c ricotta cheese
3/4c marsala
1 shallot
4 clove[s] of garlic
1/2c dried currants
3/4c olive oil
1/2c white wine
1/2 package pine nuts
1 can tomato puree (you can make your own if you're a purist) bread crumbs oregano wood toothpicks (I know it's low class, but it works)"

26. Rights: NO

27. Transborder Issues: YES

Though the United States recognizes England's ownership of the Falkland/Malvinas, Latin America rallied to Argentina's support during the war. They had initially condemned Argentina for violating the non-intervention clause of the Organization of American States Charter, but then condemned the United States for not upholding the Monroe Doctrine. The United States pledged to mediate the Anglo-Argentine conflict of 1982, but undermined its credibility by eventually supported England and imposing economic sanctions on Argentina. Though Argentina disputes England's ownership of the Falkland/Malvinas, the international community generally accepts England's sovereignty over the islands. The islanders are of English descent, are loyal to Britain.

28. Relevant Literature

Atkins, G. Pope. Latin America in the International Political System, 2nd ed. Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 1989.

Child, Jack. "The War in the South Atlantic" in United States Policy in Latin America: A Quarter Century of Crisis and Challenge, 1961-1986. Martz, John D., ed. The United States: University of Nebraska Press, 1990.

Finan, John. In Latin American Foreign Policies: An Analysis. Harold Eugene Davis and Larman Curtis Wilson, eds. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1975.

Krasnow, Jay. Travel Journal, January 13, 1993-June 1, 1993: Chile Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, and the islands of Chilo‚ and FloranopĒlis.

Milenky, Edward. Argentina's Foreign Policies. Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 1978.

Snow, Peter G. "Argentina: Development and Decay" in Latin America: Its Problems and Promise: A Multidisciplinary Introduction, 2nd edition. Jan Knippers Black, ed. Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 1991.

Wynia, Gary. Argentina: Illusions and Realities, 3rd ed. New York: Holmes and Meier, 1986.

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