Russia only country seriously implementing and profiting from port control

July 6, 2007 13:05

As of 1 May 2007 landings of the Russian vessels in NEAFC ports have been carried under international port control providing for confirmation of the cargo's legality.

According to Murmansk department of Russia's Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance Rosselkhoznadzor, from 1 May to 1 July 2007 the vet department confirmed legality of more than 200 Russian landings in European ports. The parallel decrease of illegal landings observed in the last couple of years has, along with other factors, resulted into an increase of Russian cod prices on the international market.

On the other hand, through the above mentioned period other NEAFC countries were said to report very few legality confirmations thus giving grounds for speculations that the port control has been created specially for Russia though illegal landings have also been frequently reported by media for EU vessels as well.

Russian analysts say that in general the port control is beneficial for the Russian fishery industry, because it allows to fight with the stock's depletion due to poaching, to improve condition of the stocks and to create the new image of the Russian fishery industry as sustainable and ecologically responsible. The latter aspect is getting very important especially in view of the anti-Russian campaign particularly fueled by the Norwegians who seem to be trying to make the world think of the Russian fishery industry as piratical. On the other hand, as opposed to the Russian rivals the Norwegian cod industry is promoted as highly sustainable and future markets for farmed cod are being prepared.

As a result, large chains have developed a negative bias to Russian seafood against the background of switching seafood sourcing mostly from sustainable fisheries.

Meanwhile, to become more competitive on the international market the Russian producers of Alaska pollock have already applied for ecological certification of the Marine Stewardship Council and their example will be probably followed by the Russian producers of the Barents Sea cod.

In the meantime, the Russian fishermen say they are not happy with the port control as another bureaucratic constraint leading to extra red tape and costs. However, they understand they cannot get away without complying with the development for the sake of the longterm health of the resources and the industry.

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