Russian Government working hard to meet deadlines of ambitious reform measures

July 16, 2008 12:25

At a dedicated Government meeting dated 11 July 2008 the influential Deputy Premier Viktor Zubkov with general responsibility for the fishery economy has strongly confirmed that the deadline of the 1st of January 2009 will certainly be met as regards implementation of mandatory customs clearance of the Russian catch made in the EEZ and other important measures, according to Russia's Federal Fisheries Agency.

The issues at stake and in the making are quite high. To name some of the most important changes to be implemented as of 1st January 2009, they include extension of the quota share entitlement from the current five to 10 years and mandatory customs clearance of the catch made by the fleets in the Russian EEZ beyond the 12-mile limit, the clearance to be naturally carried out in Russian ports.

The above measures are supposed to improve investment appeal of the fishing industry as regards renewal of assets, boost domestic processing, and make fishery a more responsible business in terms of stocks conservation and sustainable exploitation. The measures should also be instrumental in reduction of illegal exports, the linked practice of price dumping by poachers and it should eventually contribute to future prosperity of the Russian fish ports.

The high ranking official has underlined that during the remaining time all the necessary conditions must be created for development of port infrastructure and modernization of fish processing facilities.

Mr. Zubkov has also ordered acceleration of such measures as more fishermen friendly veterinary controls and simplified processing of vessel calls (now the regulation is being enforced for the inspection not to exceed 3 hours).

Some other issues raised include possible extension of single agricultural tax to the fishery industry with the huge forthcoming savings to help carry the surging fuel costs.

The commission has also decided to remove privatization of Murmansk Marine Fishing Port from the agenda in the wake of the abortive auction of the establishment. It is believed that the decision has come as a sort of response to the proposal of Russia's Federal Fisheries Agency to establish a corporation which would bring together the Government-owned assets of the fishery sector. They would include the port, the Arkhangelsk Trawl Fleet combine, the fishery economy research institute, etc. to create a much more attractive project to sell to investors in the future.

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