Russia’s lucrative artemia stocks need better protection
The harvesting of artemia is a promising business for the Russian fishery sector but for its sustainable development, it is necessary, first of all, to solve the problems with illegal fishing and trafficking of valuable crustaceans. This was stated by the executive director of the All-Russian Association of Fishermen and Exporters (VARPE) Igor Karpman at a recent meeting with government agencies on the prospects of commercial use of artemia, reports Megafishnet.com.
According to Igor Karpman, in comparison with other aquatic biological resources, a high level of IUU fishing remains in relation to artemia. According to VARPE estimates, in 2015-2020, at least 1,000 tons of artemia of dubious origin were exported from Russia, which is from 10% to 15% of the volume of its catch in the Russian Federation.
VARPE, together with the Ministry of Agriculture and the Federal Agency for Fishery (FAF), is consistently developing measures to reduce the IUU fishing of artemia. The inclusion of artemia in the list of strategically important goods and resources for the purposes of Article 226.1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation at the initiative of business in 2019 already gives some results. The number of people willing to engage in illegal harvesting of artemia has decreased, but opportunities for poaching and legalization of artemia still remain. VARPE believes that further steps are needed to reduce the level of IUU fishing and support the law-abiding users of the fishing sites.
In particular, VARPE proposes to ensure the regulatory possibility of returning the illegally caught artemia to the habitat; to change the mechanism for adjusting the recommended production volumes of the valuable crustaceans, as well as to exclude from the regulatory legal acts of the Ministry of Agriculture the grounds for its legalization through fictitious "cultivation".
In August last year, VARPE sent a letter on the issue of returning artemia to the habitat to the Ministry of Agriculture of Russia and received conceptual support. The regulator pointed out the need to study the issue by fishery scientists.