There is a strong awareness of environmental conservation in the Malvinas, as a pillar of the tourism industry
Falklands anticipates new public debate on large-scale industrial aquaculture
Monday, February 06, 2023, 01:00 (GMT + 9)
The issue of the development of aquaculture in the Falkland Islands does not cease in public debate, and now voices of interested parties have arisen who affirm that the investigation process before the possibility of the development of said industry, large scale, has been "cut short ”.
In this regard, the weekly Penguin News of the Islands met with the elected legislator of the Islands, MLA Pete Biggs, who campaigned and won the bank with his anti-industrial aquaculture platform, and asked him about the resurgence of lobbyists in favor of said industry.
MLA Biggs said he was very surprised "when he was approached by representatives of a company linked to salmon farming, but he broached the issue anyway."
Indeed, he was informed that “despite the decision of the Islands Executive Council that large-scale industrial farming of marine species should not take place in the Falkland Islands, they have decided to go back and try again to gain interest in developing of that industry." And "they told me that they were going to move among the people, talking to them to see if they could change their minds."
The PN weekly also spoke to James Wallace of Grupo Fortuna Ltd, who works alongside stakeholders to develop large-scale aquaculture in the Falklands.
"We are not under the impression that we have the right or the security to be attended and approved, but we do think that anyone working with the government of the Islands, FIG, has the right to expect a transparent and objective process", and they understand that the Falklands aquaculture development research process had been 'truncated' as independent information would have had to be collected and included before 'a decision was made"
“We believe that it is necessary to rethink the decision not to go ahead with foundational research, and that relying on anecdotal information on the subject is misplaced”
MLA Biggs added that reference was made in the conservation to "an agreement with some element of the government of the Islands that they had to keep quiet on the subject", adding, "I have not found anyone within FIG who confirmed that version to me" .
When James Wallace was asked about the nature of the agreement made between the FIG and (industrial company) Unity Marine, he replied, ... “we were asked not to be involved as an active part of the process. That was the crucial part of the deal."
When it was insisted with whom it was agreed, a Department, elected legislators, or the then general administrator of the Islands, Wallace said that "it was certainly part of the agreement reached with representatives of FIG at that time", and when it was insisted if the said agreement "had been formalized", Wallace maintained that "formal or informal", it was understood on our part that it was indeed part of the agreement. That's the way they wanted us to move."
MLA Biggs said he has not changed his mind on large-scale industrial aquaculture, and "as far as I am aware, while there are differences of opinion as to whether or not legislation banning such an industry should be put in place, if I believe that my seven colleagues in the Legislative Assembly are committed to preserving the environment and the health of the seas around the Falklands”, he concluded.
Let's finally say that the people of the Falklands are very committed and identified with the policies related to climate change, and the need to preserve the environment officially promoted by the British government. In addition, at the local level there is a growing environmental awareness of the general public, as one of the great attractions of the tourism industry, in addition to having the Islands with two institutions of international scientific recognition in the matter such as Falklands Conservation and SAERI, South Atlantic Environment Research Institute, with first-rate professionals.
Without ignoring that in Tierra del Fuego there is a similar strong 'green' movement against large-scale industrial aquaculture and in Chile, although the success of the industry, particularly salmon farming, has placed the country among the main producers in the world There have also been countless abuses, excesses and even ecological disasters that have occurred in some salmon-growing regions of the country.