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Commercial Fishing



Russia to build own fish processing plants to end reliance on China. Russia will build its own processing plants, which will make it possible to end dependence on China. Instead of bringing raw fish to their factories, they can process it themselves. The Ministry of Agriculture has submitted for public discussion a draft law on the second stage of distribution of investment quotas for fishing.

The head of the Federal Agency for Fishery, Ilya Shestakov, estimated that at the second stage of investment quotas in Russia, 30 fishing vessels will be built (10 of which are large and medium-tonnage for fishing for pollock and herring), up to 35 crab fishing vessels, as well as eight large fish processing plants (with a capacity of at least 80 thousand tons of processing per year). This will provide additional income for the federal budget of about 200 billion rubles, attract about 300 billion rubles of investments in the renewal of production assets, and create up to 4 thousand jobs. So many people will be employed in new businesses. Following the results of two stages of the programme, Russia will be able to reach 80% of its own fish processing.

Previously, all this volume of raw fish was processed mainly in China – we exported 61% of all fish caught there. There was no capacity in Russia for this. And from China, already cut and ready, at a higher price, Russian fish went back to us and to other countries. It turned out that the main profit passed by the Russian ‘pocket’.

But at the end of 2020, China introduced tough ‘antiquated’ measures in its ports. Because of this, the supply of goods from different countries, including fish from Russia, has decreased: COVID-19 was detected on products last year.

Fish catch in Russia dropped sharply, refrigerators in the Far East were jammed with food. Fishermen, in order to keep their business, were forced to look for new distribution channels. And since the Russians cannot eat all of the 5 million tons produced (the domestic market accounts for slightly less than half of the production), the fish began to be exported to South Korea and other countries. But this solved the problem only partially.

More recently, more than 60% of the catch went to China, but the pandemic broke this trend.

The situation spurred the Russian authorities to take emergency measures. By this time, the country was implementing a fleet renewal programme (the first stage of investment quotas). In addition to it, the second stage of the investment quotas programme was initiated.

As follows from the bill of the Ministry of Agriculture, the programme will concern only the Far East. It is there that there are not enough processing facilities and refrigerators.