FAF inviting companies to apply for rights to conduct Antarctic krill fishery

April 23, 2021 14:31

Russia’s Federal Agency for Fishery (FAF) is compiling a list of companies intending to fish for Antarctic krill in order to assign the rights to conduct the fishery in the convention area and the open part of the World Ocean in the Antarctic part of the Atlantic, reports Megafishnet.com.

According to FAF, the project to resume the Antarctic krill fishery and to build krill catchers-processors is part of the Strategy for the Development of the Fisheries Complex until 2030.

The development of the Antarctic krill fishery is seen as an opportunity to increase the national catch, to return to distant areas of the World Ocean, to create a new high-tech industry for the processing of krill, etc. Especially lucrative would be the manufacture of krill oil to be used, in particular, in health products to prolong human life expectancy.

On the market side, krill meal will be in demand for the production of fish feed. According to FAF estimates, the domestic aquaculture fish meal market is about 130 thousand tons. Global aquaculture production is growing at a significant pace, which will ensure the sale of krill meal not only in Russia, but also abroad. At the same time, krill mince will make it possible to produce a wide range of finished food products.

FAF draws the attention of fishermen that in the future within the CCAMLR there are risks of new restrictions that might prevent the expansion of the Russian krill fishery, so it is strategically right for Russia to resume the fishery as soon as possible, applying to the CCAMLR for licensing at least one vessel. At the same time, it is necessary to start creating a competitive krill fleet. In this regard, FAF is waiting for information from fishermen about their intentions to participate in krill operations.  To guarantee investment in the development of krill fishing, the Agency intends to prepare a dedicated Government resolution draft to be first discussed with the industry.

As for the fishing and processing methods, FAF is looking into both domestic and foreign expertise. In particular, an offer of a full-cycle onboard processing technology designed by the Chilean company Tharos is being considered.

According to FAF, based on Tharos process, a krill catcher-processor over 100 meters long would cost an average of $150 million. The construction period at Russian shipyards is estimated at about 3 years, design catch capability to be 100 thousand tons per year with full-cycle production onboard. That would generate a revenue of about $ 100 million and EBITDA of $ 39 million, with full capacity to be reached in the third year of operation. The payback period is estimated at 9 years, going down to 8 years subject to state support (25% compensation for construction costs).

Russian naval architects, such as BRISK LLC and Vostok Design Bureau, also have concepts for the development of krill fishing. Vostok Design Bureau offers a "Krill expedition" concept with five factory vessels simultaneously operating during the entire fishing season, that is, 7-9 months a year, their work to be supported by supply vessels. The company also assures that the financing of the design work will be covered by the government.

According to "VNIRO" fishery research institute, the world krill catch is now approaching the record volumes that were harvested in the 70s and 80s of the last century. Then almost the entire volume was fished by the Soviet Navy. Today, the world catch of krill is about 430 thousand tons, although there is a possibility of expanding.

The record catch of krill in Antarctic waters in the amount of 528.7 thousand tons was achieved in 1982, the share of the USSR was 93%. Domestic krill fishing has not been conducted since 1992 and resumed on a small scale in 2009-2010 with a total catch of 17.7 thousand tons. At the moment, Norway, China, Chile, Korea and Ukraine are actively involved in krill harvesting.

The task of resuming the Antarctic krill fishery is laid down in the Strategy for the Development of the Fisheries complex of the Russian Federation until 2030. The planned catch rate is 450 thousand tons per year.

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