Russian fishery head summing up preliminary results of the year 2018

December 27, 2018 14:59

As per mid-December 2018, the Russian fleets continued active fisheries with a 6% rise on last year. By the end of the year Russia’s total harvest is forecasted to exceed 5 million metric tons (namely 5.05 million tonnes). It will be a record volume since 1992 when the Russian fishermen harvested 5.6 million tonnes of aquatic resources, according to Head of the nation’s Federal Agency for Fisheries Ilya Shestakov briefing fishery journalists on the New Year’s eve.

Such an impressive result can be attributed mostly to the record high harvest of salmons in the Russian Far East. More than 676,000 metric tons of Pacific salmons is the highest result in the fisheries’ history with the largest share of the harvest delivered for consumption inside Russia.

In the meantime, the Russian fleets have been conducting brisk fishery of Pacific sardine (iwashi), mackerel and saury. While earlier those species were called promising, now they are taken as ordinary pelagic fish. In 2018 their total catch amounted to 150,000 metric tons or practically double-fold on last year. Scientists forecast that in the near future catches of sardine and mackerel may grow to 1 million tonnes which is equal to respective catches in Soviet times.

Fleet renewal

According to Mr. Shestakov, in volume terms the Russian seafood exports slightly increased, but in value the figures jumped visibly. There was an evident rise of shipments of value-added products. For instance, exports of fish fillets went up by one fourth. The trend will grow stronger as this year has seen a launch of a large-scale program on fish processing renewal with 33 vessels and 18 factories contracted for construction in the North Fishery Basin and in the Far East of Russia.

The projects are being implemented under the government program on investment quotas linked to building new fishing vessels and processing facilities inside Russia. By the turn of the year new contracts will be signed for the construction of four more plants in the Russian Far East with the total investments to approach 1 billion RUR (12.75 million Euro). Grand total investments into all the projects under the investment quota program are estimated at 132 billion RUR (1.68 billion Euro). New facilities will be launched in 3-5 years coming. In early 2019 the third stage of investment quota distribution will be completed. According to preliminary forecasts, the remaining volumes of investment quotas may cover building of seven more vessels.

Some of the projects have been already realized: three trawlers built in Kaliningrad to the order of Kamchatka fishermen were set afloat as well as one ship built in Saint Petersburg for operations in the the North Fishery Basin. Besides, one modern crabber built beyond the investment quota program will be also made waterborne in the near future. The above developments actually indicate rising competence and better experience of the nation’s shipbuilders, Mr. Shestakov said at the briefing.

Meanwhile, Russia’s Federal Agency for Fisheries (FAF) and the Ministry of Industry and Trade have joined forces to work out a mechanism aimed at renewal of small boats and middle class vessels, first of all for those fishery basins where the investment quota scheme is inapplicable. More specifically, the authorities think of supporting the nation’s inshore fleet subject to landing most of its catch for onshore processing in Russia. The mechanism provides for compensation of up to 25% of investments into new shipbuilding immediately after fishing trials. In the West, Volga-Caspian and Azov-Black Sea Fishery Basins the need in inshore vessels is estimated at 70 boats.

Inshore fishery

Speaking at the briefing Russia’s fishery industry head Mr. Shestakov underlined that catches of Russian fleets completely cover the demand from the domestic market and a further rise of shipments to the national market will be encouraged by economic incentives to be in force as of 2019. The most important changes are the extension of contracts on capture quota shares from 10 to 15 years and introduction of a single fishing space and a single capture quota.

More specifically, earlier capture quotas were broken into inshore and offshore, though they differed but slightly. Inshore operations were actually in no keeping with the government’s instructions of saturating the coastal regions with chilled fish. Starting from 2019 the Russian fishermen will be able to choose preferable type of fishery – either inshore or offshore – or conduct both fisheries simultaneously.

In case of preferring the inshore fishery the fishing company will get an increased quota (+20%) in exchange for liabilities to bring the whole catch in live, fresh or chilled form to home ports or delivery points defined by the respective region. For inshore fishery in 2019 FAF has already received ca.1400 applications (as per mid-December).

While earlier inshore catches were mostly exported to the international market in frozen form, the government’s new approach would route them to home shores for further processing and sale, Mr. Shestakov concluded.

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