Russian - Japanese Agreement at APEC to slash illegal crab landings and boost prices

September 14, 2012 16:46

Japan is expecting reduction of Russian crab landings and higher prices for the delicacies in the wake of an agreement signed by Japan and Russia during the APEC Summit towards fighting IUU fisheries in the region, reports with reference to Interfax.

The agency has quoted Chairman of the Union of Far Eastern Fisheries Dmitri Dremlyuga as saying that the expectations are quite natural because 60% of the crab supply on the Japanese market reportedly originates from Russian illegal crab landings.

Meanwhile Russia is the largest source of crab products for Japan with some 32 000 metric tons (70% of all Japanese imports) shipped to Japan in 2011, according to Dmitri Dremlyuga. The main part of the imports consists of red king crab and snow crab varieties.

It is allowed to harvest about 46 000 tonnes of the whole range of the valuable species in the Russian Far East including South Kuril waters but the actual catch is greater, Dremlyuga was quoted as claiming.

Under the agreement the Russians will be issuing certificates confirming legal origin of crab harvest while the Japanese will first check authenticity of the certificate before allowing the boat to land the cargo in Japan.

Russia is also planning to get the crabbers install equipment for position and catch on board tracking.

Under such strict controls it is not excluded that landings will be reduced and prices will increase.

According to spokesman of Russia's Federal Fisheries Agency, the agreement should be shortly ratified and the landings are unlikely to decrease as the agreement will sooner result into more transparent exportation with the national budget getting more revenue.  The Japanese traders have nothing to worry about because the Russian domestic crab market is still insignificant.

However, it must be noted that despite domestic catch the Russian buyers import foreign-caught crab for HORECA and other sectors.  

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