Russian wild fish catch in 2007 is expected to drop 3 percent from 2006 levels. The government plans to increase fish production to 4.7 million metric tons by 2010, with most of the gains in aquaculture, and aims to double per capita seafood consumption from 12 to 24 kilograms. However, trade sources believe this goal is unrealistic as it would require policy changes and significant subsidized investments. In 2006, Russia imported a record US$ 1.2 billion of fish and seafood and the trend will continue in the near future as production is not keeping pace with strong domestic demand.
Although Russia fish production continues to increase, the growth rate is low and production remains insufficient to meet strong domestic demand. Production in 2007 is forecast to drop slightly. Russia continues to be a net seafood importer and this trend will continue in the near future. In 2006, Russia imported a record of $1.2 billion in fish and seafood products and the total deficit increased to $680 million.
The new head of the Federal Fishery Agency (Rosrybolovstvo) Andrey Krayniy called for a number of policy measures to improve efficiency and profitability of the Russian fishery sector, including changes in the quota distribution system, renovation of the fishing infrastructure, and combating poaching. According to the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, average annual growth in fish and seafood production in Russia for the period of 2006-2009 is estimated at 1.5 to 2 percent and the government has set a goal for fish production at 4.7 million metric tons in 2010, 50 percent above current production levels.
Note: This report refers to the former Russian Federal Fisheries Agency which was transformed into the State Committee on Fisheries following President Putin’s order on September 24, 2007. According to the order, the responsibilities of the Ministry of Agriculture in the sphere of fisheries, such as fishery production on catching vessels, research, preservation and reproduction of water biological resources will be transferred to the Committee. The functions of the Federal Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance Agency (VPSS) of the Ministry of Agriculture in the sphere of control and surveillance over water biological resources will also become the responsibility of the new Committee.
The State Committee on Fisheries will retain the functions of the Federal Fisheries Agency on government services, management of government property in the fishery sector and other functions. FAS will report in detail about the structure and functions of the State Committee on Fisheries as they become available.
In the absence of reliable government data for aquaculture production in the Russian Federation, industry sources estimate total 2007 fish farm production at 125,000 metric tons, nearly 11 percent above 2006. Most aquaculture output comes from fresh water culture, of which carp, rainbow trout and whitefish represent the majority of the species. Marine aquaculture accounts only for three percent of total output, and is dominated by mollusks and seaweed. Russia’s current share of world aquaculture production is less than 0.5 percent.
According to the All-Russia Scientific and Research Institute of Oceanography, Russia has 22.5 million hectares of lakes, 142,900 hectares of ponds and 523,000 kilometers of rivers. There are several institutions with different forms of ownership producing aquaculture products in Russia. The government cooperative “Rosrybkhoz” regulates and monitors most of these facilities. The cooperative consists of 600 aquaculture facilities, including 33 facilities at federal level, 35 joint stock companies, 26 regional councils and a large number of farms. In 2006 Rorybkhoz facilities released more than 5 million hatchlings and increased their catch by five percent.
Aquaculture is included in the National Priority Project as part of the Russian government's effort to spur overall growth in the fishery sector. The government signed two decrees extending subsidies to commercial fish farms to stimulate further investments in aquaculture for remodeling old fisheries facilities and construction of new plants. The potential for aquaculture in Russia suggests production increases from 120,000 MT in 2006 to 240,000 MT by 2010. For more details refer to GAIN RS7024.
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