Quota shares for crab capture to be distributed via auctions
Despite resistance from some established industry players Russia’s Ministry of Agriculture has worked out and submitted to the Government a draft law on allocating 50% of quota shares for crab capture for the period of 10 years at auctions, the quotas to be linked to investments into construction of new objects in Russia, according to the ministry.
The draft law on amendments to the federal law “On fishery and conservation of aquatic biological resources” stipulating for auctioning 50% of crab quota shares was introduced to the Government in the end of January 2019. It had all the necessary consents from the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Ministry of Economy and the Ministry of Finance. Disagreements with the Federal Antimonopoly Service and the Federal Security Service had been resolved. According to the press-service of Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, the Government will read the document on 7 February 2019 subject to consent from the legislative commission. After the reading the draft law will be introduced to the State Duma (Lower House). The amendments are expected to be finally approved in the second-fourth quarter of 2019.
The crab sector response about the new scheme of crab quota distribution is strongly negative. The market participants fear that the auction winners will be obliged not only to renew the crabber fleet, but also to invest into infrastructure and social facilities.
The government however has a different point of view as the crab firms are getting 50% of their lucrative quota shares for a longer term of 15 years while during the completed 10-year period they spent too little from their super profits to modernize the industry and create value in Russia.