In Russian bill on fisheries, a high stress on Barents Sea

Russian trawlers should be based in Russia, land their catch in Russia and undergo repair and modernization in Russian yards, fishery authorities argue. Photo: Atle Staalesen/BarentsObserver

The new legislation must include measures how to bring Russian trawlers currently based Norway back to Murmansk, head of the Russian Fishery Agency highlights in a meeting with Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.


Agency leader Andrei Krainy in the meeting with the premier proposed the introduction of a tax amnesty for trawlers built or repaired abroad. Currently, all fishing vessels constructed by foreign yards or having undergone repair abroad are imposed major taxes when entering Russian ports. The new law on fisheries, currently under elaboration, must includes mechanisms on how to handle the issue, Krainy stressed to PM Medvedev.

The current regulation is a key reason why a big number of Russia’s best and most modern trawlers stay away from Russian ports and instead settle and land their catch abroad. In Murmansk, about 80 Russian-registered vessels belonging to local companies today never enter the local ports or land catch to local processors.

“The ships go to Kirkenes, a Norwegian port, Krainy told the premier, a government transcript reads. “There, they bunker up and change crews, there the local ship repair industry is developing, while Russia gets nothing, not the revenues, nor the fish”, he added.

The meeting in the government White House also included Murmansk Governor Marina Kovtun.

In the meeting, Krainy also called for changes in the Russian Law on the State Border, arguing that fishing vessels today encounter major bureaucracy and paper work every time they cross the 12 mile zone. “It should be enough to give notice to the border guards”, the fishery leader stressed.

Over the last years Russian fish catch volumes have increased stabily and in 2011 totaled 4,3 million tons of marine bioresources, an increase of 4,8 percent from 2010. By year 2020, Russia intends to increase its production to 4,5 million tons.

The Russian State Duma already in March 2011 adopted a bill on the development of aquaculture in a first reading. However, the final adoption of the legislative document subsequently stalled in the parliament. Prime Minister Medvedev now commissions the Fishery Agency with the elaboration of a final version of the bill within one month. He also commissions Andrei Krainy and the Fishery Agency with the elaboration of the new Fishery Law within a month.