Fishermen urged to build more vessels to tap the abundant Caspian sprat resource

January 19, 2021 09:10

After a 15-year break in the fishery the Caspian sprat stock has recovered with the catch growing again. However, more vessels must be built to fully utilize the recommended catch, reports

According to Russia’s Federal Agency for Fisheries (FAF), the catch of sprat in the Caspian Sea in 2020 increased 4.7 times to 13.6 thousand tons.

But this is far too short of 98.5 thousand tons recommended for catching in 2021 by the fishery scientists based on the overall abundance of 450-500 thousand tons.

The fishery was resumed in the autumn of 2019 by three fishing boats which harvested sprat in the western part of the Middle Caspian Sea. In 2020, the number of fishing vessels increased to 15 units. The expected catch in the near future is up to 20 thousand tons, with further growth, as the fleet is restored, to 50-60 thousand tons and above.

New companies joining the fishery contribute to the development of canned fish production and help fill the gap of approximately 41 thousand tons in imported material supply hit by the Russian counter sanctions.

The sprat fishery is not on quota being regulated by an overall recommended catch. It falls among other low margin fisheries FAF is striving to develop towards better use of the available stocks.

In particular, the fishermen are encouraged to build more small and medium boats by subsidizing the construction costs since the investment quota program is attractive only for high-margin operations.

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