Ambitious project to boost Russian krill catch to 600 thousand MT and beyond

August 24, 2021 09:16

The government-owned JSC Center for Shipbuilding and Ship Repair Technology is preparing an ambitious project named "Krill-expedition" which could push the Russian krill catch up to 600KT and beyond. To meet the goal, it is planned to use state support schemes, reports

According to Fishnews, the Strategy for the Development of the Fisheries Complex for the Period up to 2030 provides for the construction (at domestic yards) of up to five large-capacity processor trawlers and three transport vessels for the harvesting of Antarctic krill in 2025-2030.

Since krill fishing has a pronounced seasonal character (from seven to nine months a year), operations in such remote areas are economically feasible only in the form of an expedition composed of factory trawlers and reefer carriers. Then the catchers can fully use the fishing time without a break for transporting the catch to the port. The experts behind include the Director of the Vostok Design Bureau Yuri Sitnikov, Chief Designer of the Vostok Design Bureau Alexander Ulyashev, Director of Sudorybtehmash LLC Viktor Dorovskikh, and Doctor of Technical Sciences, Chief technologist of the latter company Mikhail Andreev.

The project is a cooperation between the Center for Shipbuilding and Ship Repair Technology (includes the Vostok Design Bureau), the VNIRO Research Institute of Fisheries and Oceanography (stocks situation research) and the Sudorybtehmash company (technology and equipment).

The ultimate goal of the program is to help design, build at domestic shipyards and operate a fleet of large krill catchers-processors in combination with reefer vessels to receive and carry the krill products to shore. The total catch of such a fleet during the fishing season could be at least 600 thousand tons of krill with a yield of commercial products of at least 120 thousand tons.

At the first stage, the Center is planning to work on two designs: a large factory trawler for the harvesting and processing of Antarctic krill and a transport reefer vessel. As an example, they are considering a 128-meter freezing supertrawler-krill catcher of the MSTK120 "Mirny" design with a continuous krill fishing system and a 145-meter transport reefer of the PTR145 "Sever" design.

The R & D funding is to be provided from the government coffers as has been approved in principle by the Ministry of Industry and Trade, subject to real investors into the subsequent newbuildings.

In addition, the Federal Agency for Fishery (FAF) has announced a subsidy program for the construction of krill vessels. By taking advantage of these preferences, the investor can receive a subsidy of up to 30% of the cost of construction of each vessel and reduce the cost of design work.

Apart from the design, R&D covers calculations of the project’s economic efficiency with the elaboration of the expedition’s operational model.

Preliminary calculations show that the krill project will have a realistic payback period, good financials and a synergistic effect in shipbuilding, the food industry, medicine and agriculture.

Of course, the development of the Antarctic krill requires huge investments, but they can be justified if large financial and industrial groups participate or create a public-private partnership, the Center’s experts point out.

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