Russia:Russia is now in the midst of a grand restructuring of its seafood sector. From massive investments in infrastructure to overhauling fisheries laws to efforts to boost domestic and overseas markets for its products, Russia’s government is pouring resources into reviving and invigorating all aspects of its fisheries economy.
SeafoodSource has undertaken an in-depth, two-part investigation of Russia’s efforts. Part one of this series, “Russia tackling ambitious modernization plan for its seafood sector,” was published Monday, 23 July.
As part of a new national strategy adopted in late 2017, the Russian government called for an investment by state and private businesses of RUB 26.5 billion (USD 423.7 million, EUR 362.6 million) between 2017 and 2025, with the money focused on refurbishing and expanding the country’s fishing terminals.
A central part of the strategy is attracting more Russian fishing companies to use the country’s own fishing terminals to land their catch and repair their vessels inside Russia. Due to aging fishing port infrastructure, an increasing majority of Russian-flagged ships are instead spending money and selling fish at ports abroad, primarily in South Korea, Japan, China, and Norway.
The problem is most severe in Russia’s Far East, where more than 700 fishing vessels are deployed. While 65 percent of them are technically maintained and repaired at Russian ports, that total consists mainly of ships of small range, 90 percent of which are served in Russia. Only half of medium- and long-range vessels operating in the Far East prefer national harbors. The other half pays for technical services in the South Korea, China and Japan, with most of this money going to the Korean port of Busan, which provides storage facilities for one million MT of fish, as well as fast and efficient handling and paperwork.
While it’s more expensive to get maintenance abroad, the speed of services there is 40 higher than in Russia, and the quality difference is also notable, according to the Russian government’s 2017 planning document, titled “The Strategy for the Development of Fishery Terminals Through 2030.”
The document calls for ensuring 80 percent, or 440, of Russia’s large-scale vessels are operated through Russian fishing terminals by 2030, up from 40 percent. It also calls for significant private investment in the sector. That call to action has partially been answered.