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More Russian fish on the menu, food security doctrine orders

Production in Murmansk drops, but Russia still raises its ambitions for the fishery industry.

Russia needs to produce more fish, the country’s new Food Security Doctrine states. At the same time, production in fishery region Murmansk plummets. 

Domestic production should account for 85 percent of national fish consumption, the updated Russian Food Security Doctrine states. The document, which sets key objectives for Russian food producers, was this week presented by the Russian Agriculture Ministry, newspaper Vedomosti reports. The new doctrine comes as Russian consumers remain without Western foodstuff following Russian sanctions against EU and U.S. producers.

According to the country’s Fishery Agency (Rosrybolovstvo), Russia is getting closer to its objectives for the fish industry. In 2014, Russian producers covered 79,4 percent of consumption, Vedomosti informs.

That positive trend can not however conceal a string of serious challenges in the industry.

In fishery region Murmansk, production is sigificantly declining despite historically rich stocks in the nearby Barents Sea. Figures from regional statistical office Murmanskstat, the regional branch office of federal Rosstat, show that regional fishery processing facilities the first six months of 2015 produced 19,3 thousand tons, 13 percent less than in the same period 2014.

The weak results for 2015 follows an industry decline also last year. In 2014, regional fish processing dropped almost three percent compared with 2013.

In addition, the Murmansk regional aquaculture industry is in crisis following mass death in salmon fish farms.

At the same time, fishery quotas in the Barents Sea are higher than ever. In 2014, the Russian Barents cod quota alone amounted to 431,7 thousand ton, figures from Patchwork Barents, the regional dataportal show. The Barents Sea quotas are determined annually by the Norwegian-Russian Joint Fishery Commission.

According to the new Food Security Strategy, Russian needs to produce not only more fish. Among the top priorities for the industry should be production of vegetable oil, suger and diary products, the document reads.