Scoop has an Ethical Paywall
Work smarter with a Pro licence Learn More

Search

 

Cablegate: International Fishery Congress Touts Strengths of Russian

VZCZCXRO4491
RR RUEHCN RUEHDBU RUEHGH RUEHIK RUEHLN RUEHPOD RUEHSK RUEHSL RUEHVC
RUEHYG
DE RUEHVK #0091/01 2570220
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 140220Z SEP 09
FM AMCONSUL VLADIVOSTOK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1195
INFO RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE
RUEHOO/CHINA POSTS COLLECTIVE
RUEHVK/AMCONSUL VLADIVOSTOK 1300

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 VLADIVOSTOK 000091

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SENV EFIS ECON EINV ETRD EWWT PGOV PREL PHSA RS
SUBJECT: INTERNATIONAL FISHERY CONGRESS TOUTS STRENGTHS OF RUSSIAN
FISHING INDUSTRY

VLADIVOSTO 00000091 001.2 OF 002


1. (SBU) Summary: The Sixth International Fishery Congress,
hosted in Vladivostok September 8-10, has grown in significance.
This year's event was attended by over 500 participants from
across Russia, including all of the Russian Far East (RFE)
regions, as well from the U.S., Europe, and Asia. For the first
time ever the Director of the Federal Fisheries Agency Andrey
Krainiy attended. He reported that the Russian fishing industry
was one of the few sectors of the Russian economy to experience
growth in 2009. Krainiy criticized cumbersome legislation which
has hampered the industry and announced plans to promote the
construction of more shipyards. The congress also discussed
steps needed to improve sustainable development in the Russian
fishing industry and to include some type of international
ecological certification to appeal more to western consumers.
End summary.

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading

Are you getting our free newsletter?

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.

--------------------------------
Russian Fishing Industry Growing
--------------------------------

2. (U) Director of the Federal Fisheries Agency Andrey Krainiy
opened the congress by proudly stating that Russia's fishing
industry was one of the few industries in the country that
showed the growth in 2009. The RFE is Russia's leading fishing
region despite numerous problems, including financial
difficulties, an outdated fleet, inadequate refrigeration and
processing facilities, and cumbersome legislation. RFE salmon
fishing saw a record year with a catch of over 500,000 tons,
almost 200,000 tons more than in 2007. (Note: The RFE accounts
for over 30 percent of Russia's fishing industry and is
influential in the Asian market. End note.)

----------------------------------------
Legislative Improvements and Impediments
----------------------------------------

3. (U) Krainiy admitted that systemic flaws existed in the
fishery management system, including an inadequate legal
framework. He cited the Fishery and Aqua Bio-resources
Preservation Act of 2004, which has been amended over 30 times
in 2008 alone, as a prime example. Krainiy said granting
regional governments the authority to start the fishing season
based on scientific forecasts is a great achievement. He
praised former Kamchatka Governor Mikhail Mashkovtsev for
opening the 2002 salmon season before getting permission from
Moscow, despite the criminal case launched against him in 2004
for having done so. Krainiy called for greater coordination
between fishing companies, law enforcement agencies, and border
guard service. Despite having reached certain agreements, these
agencies continue to obstruct fishermen with numerous
inspections, but law enforcement also interdicts tons of
illegally harvested seafood.

--------------------------
Russian Fish for Russians!
--------------------------

4. (U) A new regulation on fisheries that came into effect on
January 1 demands that all fish caught in the Russian economic
zone be delivered to Russian ports. This law has been expressed
by the slogan "Russian Fish to the Russian Shore." Before that
law came into effect, half of the fish caught in Russia's
economic zone (over 1.5 million tons) was sold abroad. This was
seen as depriving Russian costal settlements of jobs, the
Russian treasury of revenue, and Russian consumers of fish. The
2009 salmon fishing season, however, exposed the illogic behind
the law, as RFE fishermen struggled to make a living due to the
mismanagement of fish processing companies and a lack of
coordination with Russian railroads. Well before the end of the
salmon fishing season, seafood processing companies were stuck
with no way to move their product, having filled all available
refrigeration storage facilities in RFE ports. As a result, the
retail price of salmon is up to 200 rubles (USD 6.30) a kilogram
in the Volga region, while the wholesale price in Sakhalin is 10
rubles (USD 0.30) a kilo and 25 rubles (USD 0.70) per kilo in
Vladivostok. The fishermen had no choice but to sell salmon to
China and South Korea before the fish spoiled in order to pay
for fuel, labor, and other costs. Fish sold abroad usually
fetches higher prices as well. Prime Minister Putin was forced
to intervene and ordered the Russian Railroad Company to free up
more refrigerator cars to move RFE fish.

----------------------------------------
Outdated Vessels and a Lack of Shipyards
----------------------------------------

5. (U) The aging Russian fishing fleet was also discussed at the
congress. Most of the Russian fleet is already exceeding its

VLADIVOSTO 00000091 002.2 OF 002


normal lifespan. The RFE fishing industry will need over 200
new vessels in the course of the next decade. The lack of
high-sea fishing vessels force fishermen to operate only in
Russia's economic zone (mainly the Sea of Okhotsk, the Bering
Sea, and the Sea of Japan). Fishing companies neither have
money nor access to bank loans to buy new, costly vessels.
Krainiy said that federal financing for the construction of new
fishing boats, to be leased to fishing companies, would
significantly help to bring the fleet up-to-date. This is
currently being discussed by the national government.

6. (U) This strategy will work only when new, well-equipped
shipyards are put into operation or foreign vessels are allowed
to be purchased with lower import duties. The lack of adequate
shipyards in Russia causes Russian fishermen to import new and
used vessels, mainly from East Asia. At the congress it was
rumored that a new Russian-South Korean shipyard will be put
into operation in Nakhodka, in the Primorye Region next year.
Amur Governor Oleg Kozhenyako attended the congress and said his
region was prepared to build small seiners at the Blagoveschensk
shipyard. He promised fishermen discounts and bonuses on the
contracts.

--------------------------------------------- --
Progress in Ecological Certification Assessment
--------------------------------------------- --

7. (U) During the congress there was a roundtable discussion of
the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership on the progress of RFE
pollock fishing companies toward ecological certification of
their products at the world market. Director of
Vladivostok-based ROLIZ Fishing Company Petr Savchuk said much
had been done, but more is needed before the whole process
becomes transparent from boat to plate, such as ending the
practice of using flag of convenience vessels, bringing Russian
fishing regulations in line with Marine Stewardship Council
(MSC) standards, and ending illegal, unreported, and unregulated
catches. (Note: The Kurils-based Gidrostroy Company was the
first-ever Russian fishing company to meet MSC requirements.
Gidrostroy received an MSC ecolabel on September 10. End note.)

-------
Comment
-------

8. (SBU) Over the past six years the annual International
Fishery Congress has proven to be an increasingly effective
forum for RFE fishermen to air their concerns with the national
government. It also has given industry representatives
opportunities to meet and coordinate their efforts to promote
the seafood industry's development. The opportunity for RFE
fishermen to communicate with their foreign partners has also
served to improve sustainable development and to work towards
meeting international standards.
ARMBRUSTER

© Scoop Media

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading
 
 
 
World Headlines

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Join Our Free Newsletter

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.