Conflict of interest between Crabbers Association and Association of Inshore Fishermen and Farms of Murman

March 28, 2007 12:54

Association of Inshore Fishermen and Farms of Murman has appealed to Russia's Minister of Agriculture Alexey Gordeyev with a complaint that the ministry's ban on trawl gear use in the inshore waters of the Kola Peninsula has practically made owners of small boats unable to cover their bottomfish quotas, while bringing the province's crabbers into more privileged position.

The thing is that during a large period of the year, especially in warm weather, cod and haddock stocks normally leave territorial waters of the Kola Peninsula and move further to the northeast. Since 2006 the inshore waters have been closed for trawl fishery and the order evidently implies that the small boat fleet of Murmansk province can cover its quotas in any areas of the Barents Sea up through Spitsbergen. However, in real life it is practically impossible especially taking into account current fuel prices. Thus, the inshore boats with bottomfish quotas have been bearing large losses caused by the impossibility to cover their quotas though they are paying the respective resource fees.

According to the Association of Inshore Fishermen and Farms of Murman, the project has pursued only the interests of Crabbers Association willing to become a monopolist in the red king crab fishery in the Barents Sea. (The red king crab fishery in the Russian EEZ took off in late 2004.)

In the meantime, the new draft of the Fishery Regulations for Russia's North Fisheries Basin which should be approved in the first quarter of 2007 provides for conservation of the restricted area "forever", claimed the inshore fisheremen.

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