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Russian fisherman working on deck (Photo: IA PrimaMedia)

Expert: Without updating the fleet, national quotas can go to other states

Click on the flag for more information about Russian Federation RUSSIAN FEDERATION
Friday, August 07, 2020, 17:30 (GMT + 9)

If the national reserves of aquatic biological resources are not developed, other states will apply for the right to extract them

The need for a large-scale renewal of the fishing fleet of Russia, the age of most of whose vessels today is critical 30-35 years, is associated not only with an increase in the efficiency of the harvest of aquatic biological resources, but also with the economic and political interests of Russia in the World Ocean. A significant part of the participants in the domestic fishing industry has already increased their investment activity, starting the construction of new ships and coastal complexes, this positive trend needs support from the state - with the help, first of all, by changing the mechanisms for granting access rights to national aquatic biological resources. Alexey Osintsev, President of the Association of Fishery Fleet Shipowners, expressed this opinion, commenting on the proposals recently received by the Russian government from participants in the country's fishing industry.

Recall that in July this year, the Russian Fishery Company (RFC) - the industry leader in terms of both catch volumes and modernization of the fishing fleet and coastal infrastructure - turned to the Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Mikhail Mishustin with proposals for reforming the fishing industry. Pointing to the fact that the current fishing fleet of Russia in its mass operates at the limit of reasonable service life, the authors of the appeal propose to the government a number of measures, the implementation of which will stimulate the growth of industry investments in fixed assets, provide a stable portfolio of orders for domestic shipbuilders, and allow the industry to overcome the "raw material curse "and to increase the production of deeply processed products.

A detailed expert assessment of the initiatives was made by the head of the profile association - the president of the Association of Fishery Fleet Shipowners (ASRF) Alexey Osintsev. The expert drew attention to the fact that the issue of renewing the fishing fleet is directly related not only to business, but also to the sphere of geopolitical interests of the Russian Federation.

- 70% of sea catches by our fishermen are taken in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of Russia. It is important to understand that if the national reserves of aquatic biological resources are not developed, other states will apply for the right to extract them - in accordance with Article 62 of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, - Osintsev said. - At the same time, the Russian fishing fleet today is extremely worn out, the vessels are unsuitable for modernization. The costs of their modernization or refurbishment significantly exceed their cost. It is obvious that the construction of new ships is necessary.

Russian exclusive economic zone (EEZ)

The creation by the state of conditions under which the extraction of aquatic biological resources will be carried out by modern new Russian-built vessels - direct protection of the interests of Russia and its fishermen in world fishing, the possibility of a sustainable and stable preservation of the Russian Federation as one of the leaders in this area.

Speaking about the current investment quotas program, Alexey Osintsev emphasized that the program was in great demand in the industry, a side effect of which was the reduction in the fishing limits allocated by the state for each of the implemented projects, be it a new vessel or an onshore enterprise.

- From 2024-2025, all ships (the construction of which is under the investment quotas program - ed.) Must be put into operation. Additional quotas are needed to ensure the utilization of their production capacities, the head of the association believes.

Damen Shipyard crab catcher project for Russia

The distribution of 50% of crab quotas at auctions with investment obligations turned out to be also effective - both for the state and for business - the budget received additional revenues, and the fishermen received the opportunity and state support to renew half of the crab fleet.

- It is logical to continue working in this direction in order to update the fleet for the entire production volume and ensure the effective development of the industry, - Osintsev is sure.

The state can also support the trend of modernization that has emerged in the industry with fine tax regulation, rightly granting preferences to those companies that process the catches and invest in the industry.

RFC new trawler launched at the shipyard

- Currently, the participants in the investment quotas program are at the peak of the investment program, have high obligations to service loans. In addition, due to the spread of coronavirus infection, an unfavorable situation has developed in the fish and seafood markets - a decrease in prices and an increase in costs, especially logistics. We believe that at the moment it is extremely important to support industry investments, especially in fleet renewal. A compromise solution on the part of the regulator would be to preserve benefits for participants implementing large-scale investment projects, at least for the duration of these projects, - noted the President of the Russian Federation.

Source: IA PrimaMedia



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