11 May 2023 18:29

Russian fishermen can quickly change their export geography during sanctions - head of Rosrybolovstvo

ARKHANGELSK. May 11 (Interfax) - Russian fishermen under sanctions pressure have been able to reorganize, quickly change the export geography for their products, as well where they purchase equipment for ships under construction. In general, the industry has coped with new challenges; proof of stability is the growth in the fish catch, Ilya Shestakov, head of the Federal Agency for Fisheries [Rosrybolovstvo], told reporters on the sidelines of a conference on bioresources and fisheries in the Arctic, which is taking place in Arkhangelsk on Thursday.

"Of course, everything has become a little more difficult. However, there are no unresolved issues that would lead to a collapse. We are positive in terms of catch volumes compared to last year, at the moment plus 6%, and this shows that the situation is quite stable," he said.

First, if we take the Northern Basin, there were certain difficulties with the sale of crab products, since one of the major buyers, the United States, refused to buy Russian crabs. "But the fishermen are working very quickly, they have already started shipping crabs via the Northern Sea Route, they go by plane, and by rail. Yes, not all the problems have been solved yet. It is necessary to push the markets to which these products are now going, the Asian markets, a little, he said.

All other issues related to deliveries, payment, logistics, as a whole are resolved. Including issues with fishing in remote areas, primarily in the North Atlantic, where there were problems with blocking and replacing crews, Shestakov said.

The important problem of non-delivery of equipment for new ships is being solved with the help of equipment from friendly countries, he said. "The only thing is that it will take a little more time, because it is necessary to redesign the ships that will be built," he said.

Shestakov did not give forecasts for this year's fish catch, noting, "The salmon fishing season will be very important, because it is unpredictable. If we can predict the extraction of aquatic biological resources with an accuracy of up to the thousands of tonnes, then everything here will depend on the appearance of the salmon, he explained.

As reported, the salmon catch recommended by scientists this year is 512,000 tonnes. The salmon fishing season will start June 1.

In 2022, 272,000 tonnes of salmon were caught in Russia compared to 539,000 tonnes in 2021. In total, the fish catch last year reached 4.9 million tonnes, which is 3% lower than in 2021.