11 May 2023 13:58

Russia may leave Int'l Council on Exploration of the Sea - head of Rosrybolovstvo

MOSCOW. May 11 (Interfax) - Russia may leave the International Council on Exploration of the Sea due to the political involvement of this organization, said the head of the Federal Agency for Fishery, Ilya Shestakov, at a conference on bioresources and fisheries in the Arctic, which is being held in Arkhangelsk on Thursday as part of the Russian chairmanship of the Arctic Council in 2021-2023.

"There is an organization, ICES, which processes scientific data provided by scientific institutes in different countries, and on the basis of this data, as part of the joint work of the group, gives specific proposals on how to regulate the fishing area in the North Atlantic. It was assumed that, perhaps, it would also influence the Arctic in the future, and give us its recommendations," Shestakov said. "But now we see that the Baltic countries, which do not have access to the North Atlantic, and who do not talk about the Arctic at all, as well as many other EU countries, have deprived the Russian Federation membership in this scientific organization. We believe that working in this organization in the future with this approach does not make any sense."

The Russian side notified "the respected ICES secretariat that, if they do not restore our full membership, then we will leave this pseudo-scientific organization," Shestakov said. "In recent years, this organization has turned into something that has become simply politically engaged and has begun to offer certain regulatory mechanisms which are not in the general interest, but in the interests of individual countries that are engaged in fishing and are present in this region," Shestakov said. "Therefore, of course, The Russian Federation will not work with an organization like this one and discuss the issues of a region as important as the Arctic."

"We will find opportunities and cooperate with states who want to sign agreements in the field of scientific research," he said, citing cooperation with China as an example.

Shestakov also stressed that Russia is a member of many organizations in the field of fisheries and behaves responsibly. However, partners in a number of organizations, in particular in CCAMLR (Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources), behave differently and try, without any justification or argument, to close certain fishing areas to other participants who have the right to catch in these sectors.

As for cooperation in the Arctic, the head of Rosrybolovstvo said that Russia had signed agreements with 10 countries to counter IUU fishing (illegal, unreported, unregulated fishing), as well as to close commercial fishing in the central part of the Arctic. "We believe that first we need to scientifically substantiate what we can do there, what fishing gear is needed to catch, what to catch, and then decide how we will jointly manage resources," he said.