CARLINI BASE, Antarctica – Argentina believes its future in Antarctica, where it has been established for 113 years without interruption, is “tremendous,” and sees in the fishing resources of the South Atlantic and the White Continent one of the “great opportunities” for the country as long as the ecosystem is duly respected.
That observation was made by Argentine Foreign Minister Susana Malcorra on a trip to Carlini Base, which, located on 25 de Mayo Island (King George Island) in the South Shetland Islands, is one of the 13 stations the country operates in Antarctica and where the greatest number of Argentine scientific research projects are being developed around the South Pole.
During the trip, which was wrapped up before dawn this Friday, the minister accompanied by officials of the Antarctic division and a score of reporters observed the work being done at Carlini, which is open all year long and has other foreign bases nearby.
“Work at this base has been going on for 20-25 years and now, when so much importance is being given to the impact of climate change, having 25 years of systematic measurements in an ecosystem as closed as this one is fundamental for providing answers to questions that today demand proof,” the minister told the press.
In that sense, Malcorra said that with global warming and its impact on Antarctica, areas rich in fishing stock are on the rise.
“How we manage it, how we use it and make sure it’s not done illegally and how we defend our interests – all that has to be part of our strategy. Some of these things won’t happen tomorrow, maybe in 10, 20 or 30 years, but we have to be the pioneers,” she said.
For the foreign minister, there is currently a complex situation of “poaching” on nearby seas and it “is in the hands of others.”
“We don’t have to be poachers but we do have to exercise better control, administrate better, have better licensing mechanisms and work much harder to map out protected areas,” she said.
On her visit, Minister Susana Malcorra together with science chief Lucas Ruberto toured the Carlini installations, administered by the Foreign Ministry and located in one of the areas with the greatest marine diversity, perfect for studying Antarctic species and the effects of climate change on biodiversity.
The minister revealed that Argentine President Mauricio Macri plans to visit Antarctica, though the date has not yet been set.