Russia's Fish Catch Increasing but Still Constraints to Sustainable Development

10 November 2016, at 12:00am

RUSSIA - In 2015, Russia's fisheries catches increased from the previous year by more than four per cent to 4.41 MMT.

The larger catch consisted primarily of an increased harvest of Pollock. There was also an increase in catch in zones of foreign countries and regions governed by international conventions.

Additionally the catch from freshwater basins reached 160,800 MT or an 11.2 per cent increase over the freshwater catch in 2014. However, wild catch production in Russia is still well below historical levels.

In the Far Eastern Basin, Russian fishermen harvested 2.79 MMT of fish and seafood in CY 2015, which is 67.2 MT more than during the same period in CY 2014. The reason for this increased catch is an improved Pollock harvest in the Okhotsk Sea, the Bering Sea and the Sea of Japan.

The total Pollock catch in all three basins is reported at 1,623 MMT or 104.6 TMT more than in CY2014.

In the Northern Basin, the total catch is estimated at 554,100 MT in 2015, or 15,700 MT lower than in 2014. The decrease is due to a decrease in the cod quota by 42,700 MT (total catch down to 375.5 TMT). However, the quota for haddock is larger by 12,100 MT allowing for a total catch of 91,600 MT.

In the Baltic Sea, the fish catch is up slightly in 2015, and is estimated at 61,200 MT, or 13.1 TMT higher as a result of a larger catch for both sprat and herring.

Improved weather conditions in the beginning of 2015 resulted in an increased fish catch in the Azov Sea, Black Sea and Caspian Sea. Fishermen caught 90,800 MT of fish and other seafood in the Azov Sea and Black Sea in 2015, up almost 40,000 MT from the same period in 2014. These results are attributable mostly to an increase in the catch of sprat and anchovies. The total harvest in the Caspian basin is dropped to 41,200 MT in 2015, or 3,200 MT lower than the 2014 harvest.

Rosrybolovstvo also reported that in 2015 Russian fishermen caught 458,700 MT of fish in other zones within the country, an increase of 28,500 MT compared to 2014. In regions governed by the international convention and on the high seas (also governed by the international convention), in 2015 the catch was up 32.4 percent over 2014, and reached 254,600 MT.

The Pacific salmon 2015 catch is reported at 375,500 MT, which is 42,700 MT lower than in 2013, but 38,000 MT higher than in 2014. The lower than expected catch in 2015 is attributed to inaccurate scientific forecast as well as lower than expected migration of salmon to traditional spawning zones.

Over the past year, Russia has continued its comprehensive reorganization of the fisheries sector, from improving resources management to increasing local processing and distribution.

The Government of Russia (GOR) has sought to effect these reforms through a number of government resolutions and rules to improve regulation and transparency.

However, an obsolete fleet combined with an underdeveloped fishing port infrastructure, administrative barriers, and a lack of investment; remain as main constraints to sustainable development of the sector.