Russia's Upper House approved crucial amendments to Law on Fishery
Russia's Federation Council has endorsed amendments to the Federal Law on Fishery and Conservation of Aquatic Biological Resources as well as a number of legislative acts aimed at improving the management of aquatic biological stocks.
The document defines legislative norms in the sphere of commercial fishery, inshore inclusive, state management of fisheries and conservation of aquatic biological resources as well as incentives for development of Russian fish processors. Besides, a number of regulations of the amended law are aimed at fighting poaching by means of economic methods. The law also stipulated for creation of a mechanism of improved monitoring of fishing vessels.
The amended law specifies that only the vessels sailing under the Russian flag and equipped with position tracking devices are allowed to conduct commercial fisheries. Aquatic biological resources commercially harvested in the inland marine waters of the Russian Federation, its territorial sea, on the continental shelf and in the Russian EEZ as well as products made from them shall be subject to delivery to the customs territory of the Russian Federation.
According to the document, commercial fishery operations are allowed for residents of the Russian Federation with foreign companies and vessels owned by foreign companies or persons prohibited to fish in the Russian waters.
The amended law contains a new article called Fishery of Anadromous Species stipulating that the commission on the fishery management shall be led by the region's head. (Anadromous fish migrates from seas to rivers for spawning and this will mostly apply to the big salmon fisheries in the Russian Far East.)
The document reconfirms the historical principle of quota distribution between the users. Offshore and inshore quotas, as well as quotas under the international agreements shall be distributed by means of signing agreements on assigning the quota shares for a period of 10 years based on data from the fishery register through the recent four years.
The Government of the Russian Federation is commissioned to create conditions for sale of aquatic biological resources and products from them at the commodity exchange until 1 July 2008. The rules of approving the TACs should be also changed. The amended law provides for redistribution of the proceeds from the resource fees in favour of the regions on a 80% to 20% basis.
The document also stipulates that seized for gratis or forfeit vessels which have not been sold at auctions shall be subject to destruction.
According to the amended law, fishery of aquatic biological resources for research and control purposes shall be carried out in the volume needed for research purposes. The law is to come into force as of 1 January 2008 subject to pending President's signature.