Russia set to abolish fishing quotas in 2008

October 10, 2007 16:32
Russia will stop assigning quotas for commercial fishing from January 1, 2008, the head of the fisheries regulator said on Tuesday.

"The abolishment of quotas does not mean uncontrollable fishing," Andrei Krainiy, head of the Federal Agency for Fisheries, said at a meeting in Russia's Far East. "They [the quotas] will be replaced with regulatory measures."
He said operative headquarters would be established to determine the fishing output, with limitations on duration, the number of fishing vessels and the methods of fishing.
"It is nothing new," Krainiy said. "We had the same system during the Soviet era."
The official also said that Russia must establish a monopoly on fishing in its commercial waters - common practice in all countries with fishing industries, including Iceland and Norway.

"Commercial fishing is traditionally a strategic branch of the economy and foreigners should not be present there," he said. "We are capable of developing resources in our economic zone ourselves."

Krainiy said Russia's state-controlled Rosselkhozbank would start supporting domestic fishing companies by issuing 12%-interest loans.

According to the Federal Agency for Fisheries, Russia's current annual commercial catch is about 3.2-3.3 million metric tons.

The average per capita consumption of fish and seafood in Russia has decreased from 22.5 kilograms (50 lb) in 1986 to 12.6 kilograms (27 lb) in 2006, while the Health Ministry recommends average annual consumption at about 23.7 kilograms (52 lb).

In comparison, annual fish consumption in the U.S. is 22.6 kilograms (50 lb), in China - 25.7 kilograms (56 lb), in Norway - 47.4 kilograms (104 lb) and in Japan - 64.7 kilograms (142 lb).
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