Russia's Fisheries Agency announcing provisional results 2011

January 19, 2012 11:44

Russia's Federal Agency for Fisheries has summarized provisional results of the industry's operations in 2011, reports


According to the Agency's report, the 2011 has been marked by a continuous growth in the nation's fisheries industry. Despite forecasts on stagnation in the fishing sector Russia's total harvest in 2011 rose to 4.2 billion MT from 3.8 million MT in 2010. The biggest contributors were the North and Far East Fisheries Basins where the growth rates amounted to 14% and 12% correspondingly. Thus, in the recent 4 years the industry has been showing a stable catch rise ranging from 4% to 10%.


Against the above background, the nation's seafood import has been gradually declining and imported fish has been substituted by domestic products to a growing extent. In particular, in 2011 Russia's seafood imports dropped by 11.6% mostly due to smaller shipments of fish fillets and frozen fish.


The Agency says that its promotion campaign aimed at raising consumer interest in fish products has also born its fruit. The Russian fish market has become one of the most quickly developing segments in terms of seafood consumption with the annual rise of wholesale and retail fish trade in the country amounting to 6-7%. Through the recent five years the average per capita consumption of seafood has jumped by some 30-40%.


For the third year running the Agency has duly issued orders for distribution of the TACs and capture quotas between companies which has enabled the nation's fleets to start fishing as of 1 January.

Among other positive developments in the sphere of legislation the Agency has pointed out to a longterm agreement on distribution of inshore quotas between companies based in Kaliningrad-led West Fisheries Basin, extension of an agreement between provinces of the Russian Far East up to 2018 and approval by the North Fishery Research Council of principles for distribution of cod and haddock allocations for inshore operations. Thus, at present the system of quota distribution for main commercial species has become more apprehensible and transparent.

An important landmark in the industry's development has been the decision to conduct the Third Fishermen's Congress in February 2012. Unlike the previous two congresses the third one will welcome participants not only from the fishing sector, but from processing as well, which is in keeping with the industry's recent trend towards its consolidation.

Carry-over targets

During 2011 some legislative acts strongly important for the fisheries industry have not been finally approved by the nation's Government and are yet pending approval in the year 2012.

Those include a federal law on aquaculture which has only been read by the Lower House (State Duma) for the first time and yet to go through the second and third readings before being finally approved.

Another one is a draft law on introducing amendments into the Federal Law on Fisheries, the amendments mostly concerning the inshore fishery.

One more is a draft law on introducing amendments into the law on veterinary aimed at eliminating big administrative barriers on the way of domestic fish to the home market. Russia's Government has cancelled veterinary certificates for fish products transported inside Russia, the decision supposed to simplify shipments of Russian seafood from fishing areas to retail outlets and eliminate extortion on the goods' way from the Far East and North to the Central Russia. However, the decision has faced strong opposition and has been finally blocked by decisions of the Customs Union (between Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan). Nowadays the Union's Commission is holding heated discussions on the matter as the Technical Regulations for Seafood Products are developed by Kazakhstan and the Russian side is insisting on their adjustment to the Russian reality.

One more urgent problem pending solution is the lack of funding for the fishery research sector. In 2012 the Federal Fisheries Agency will take care of the issue as one of its priorities. It is going to bring it to the Ministry of Finance and prove the need to give funding for research surveys of aquatic biological resources both in domestic waters and in the traditional areas for Russian fisheries beyond the nation's EEZ.


Encouragement of shipbuilding in Russia has also been in the Agency's focus in 2011. In particular, the Fisheries Agency has forwarded its proposals on economic support measures aimed at encouraging fleet renewal at home yards. Among them there is a proposal to partly compensate interest rates for bank loans taken for the purpose of construction and refurbishment of fishing vessels for the period of more than 5 years.

The Agency suggests that onboard and technological equipment of fishing vessels should be classified under single HSCs for their further exemption from customs duties, VAT and other customs dues if such is not manufactured in Russia. For comparison, now the above equipment is classified under the HSC subpositions called "other equipment" applicable to customs duties ranging from 5% to 20% of its cost.

Besides, the Fisheries Agency has proposed to exempt companies who have placed shipbuilding and refurbishment orders at home yards from profit tax for the period of up to 2 years.

Along with the above proposals in 2011 the Agency has also scrutinized an idea to fix capture quotas only to those holders who have own fishing vessels. Today some 5-20% of capture quota shares (fixed to holders until 2018) belong to users running neither own fishing fleet nor onshore fishing gear and the above mentioned measure would help expunge quota réntiers from the list of fair fishing firms.

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