Trawlers arrests may lead to loss of 10 year quota entitlement
From 14 March 2008 till early April about 30 vessels taking part in the Alaska pollock fishery in the Sea of Okhotsk were ordered into port by the State Maritime Inspection for suspected violation of rated roe yield. Among them are the vessels of such large fishing companies as Turnif JSC, Roliz ZAO, Ogni Vostoka fishing co-op etc, according to 9 of April release circulated by Vladivostok based of Primorye Fishermen Association.
The fishermen have been accused of illegal fishery and the case is now at the stage of administrative investigation. Meanwhile, the fishermen have been having losses as 1 day of a vessel's standstill costs at least RUB 600,000. Besides, other damages include underexploitation of the quotas, unpaid salaries and unpaid taxes. The vessels have been under arrest for more than three weeks as per early April.
The maritime police have been checking vessels and arresting those vessels which should have stopped fishing because their daily catch-roe ratio had been exceeded.
As Andrey Krainy, the Head of Russia's State Fisheries Committee, comments on the situation in his telegram to Russia's Federal Security Service incorporating the Coast Guard there has been no statutory act regulating the norm of roe yeild and the Law on fishery offers to take the yield of finished product and not raw material. He added also, that on 1 April 2008 a new order on the Rules of fishing in the Far East Basin of the Russia's State State Fisheries Committee has been issued, according to which the word "daily" (Alaska pollock roe yield) is changed to "monthly average". Thus, the problem of different interpretation of the Rules will be solved in favor of the fishermen as soon as the order comes into force after its registration in the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation.
The Fishermen's Association of Primorye will ask for passing the fishery protection powers to the Russia's State Fisheries Committee, the president of the body said as quoted by the release.
Fishermen of the Far East Basin are concerned now that these arrests of the vessels might lead to loss of quota entitlement. More specifically, the claimed violations may be used as an excuse to dissolve the agreement on quota shares allocation with the companies in question and as a result these companies can be excluded from the list of candidates to run for quotas for the next 10 year allocation period.