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And we do not bargain

And we do not bargain

Deputy Minister of Agriculture of the Russian Federation - Head of the Federal Agency for Fisheries Ilya Shestakov - on the prospects of import substitution, distribution of quotas and attracting investors to the fishing industry.

- Ilya Vasilyevich, the place of imported fish prohibited for import on the shelves should be taken by ours, domestic, mostly caught in the Far East. But won't it turn out to be "golden" even if part of the cost of its transportation to the central and European part of Russia is proposed to be subsidized from the budget? Has the order of such costs been calculated?

- Subsidizing railway tariffs, on the one hand, will allow to level the growth of prices for fish products, on the other - will become an additional incentive for the delivery of fish from the Far East to other regions of Russia. We have already sent our proposal for railway tariffs to the government. It concerns the delivery of Pacific herring, in the price of which the transport component is quite significant and reaches 35%. We are talking about herring, since the cost of transportation of salmon is insignificant (from 2 to 5%) and in this case there will be no serious effect from such subsidizing.

In the document directed to the government, it was suggested to subsidize only the infrastructure component of the tariff, which does not vary depending on the season (5,1 ruble per 1 kg). If 50% is refunded, it will be necessary to allocate 239 million rubles from the budget, with its zeroing - 478 million rubles.

- There is not much time left until 2018, when the system of fishing quotas will be radically revised. In the near future, Rosrybolovstvo should submit a government version of the modernization of the historical principle of allocating catch quotas. Discussions on this subject were boiling hotly. What is decided for today?

- As part of the instructions of the President of the Russian Federation for the development of the fisheries complex, we have already sent our preliminary proposals for consideration to the government and relevant federal agencies. We will meet with fish farmers to confer, discuss these proposals. The main task is to get rid of rentiers, increase export efficiency and stimulate the development of fixed assets in the industry. The main measures that we propose are as follows: raise the threshold of commitments for the development to 70% of quota shares; production must be made up to 70% by own ships; provide preferential conditions for coastal fisheries, but with the obligation to unload fish to shore, in order to give additional volumes to coastal enterprises.

- Almost a year has passed since the amendments to the law on fishing came into force, which allowed coastal fishermen to process catches on ships and to transship fish products directly to the sea. This allowed us to develop coastal quotas without looking at the capacity of the coastal enterprises of the regions. And, naturally, it resulted in an increase in exports instead of deliveries to the domestic market. Now "in connection with the international situation" will have to review everything?

- As I have already said, now we are considering measures that will give an additional impetus to the development of coastal fishing and provide fishermen who implement it more access to aquatic bioresources. The possibility of changing the general approaches to coastal fishing is discussed, and we also want to discuss this idea with our fishermen.

- Considering that many fishermen already have long-term contracts for the supply of fish abroad, will it be necessary to limit the volume of exports to saturate the domestic market after abandoning imported products?

- We talked with the fishermen. In general, they responded to our request to take into account the current situation, when it is necessary, on the one hand, to reorient the fish industry to the domestic market, and on the other, to closely monitor the price situation and not to allow unjustified price increases. Of course, the state has enough leverage to settle this issue by administrative methods, but we would not like to resort to them.

- Sounds somewhat menacing ...

- Sounds like it sounds. And I repeat that we would not like to resort to them. Especially since market participants have heard us. Our fishermen show social responsibility, they meet them halfway. And if we see that the balances are respected, no action will be required.

- And if not? Is there any possibility of mutual concessions and compromises?

- We do not bargain, we - discuss and make decisions. Taking into account all the opportunities available to fishermen, taking into account the price parameters and all the additional factors that have opened up in connection with the decrease in the share of imports, we believe that it would be right for them to set the task of taking their niche as quickly as possible in the domestic market. We, in this case, are not talking about all products, but only about the one that fishermen are interested in supplying to the domestic market. Nobody forces to sell products to the detriment of themselves. Arguments are of a purely economic nature. But, all other things being equal, deliveries to the domestic market should become priority.

- Much depends on the quality of fish processing at Russian enterprises. What is disingenuous, this quality is very different, and not all of our products are quality-capable of substituting imports. On which producers in the regions do you expect in the first place and how do you relate to the idea of ​​creating fish clusters, as, for example, in Primorye in Sukhodol Bay?

- The project in Sukhodol is still at the initial stage, there's nothing to see right now. In general, as far as I know, such projects have shown their viability in other countries, for example in Korea, the very idea is quite promising. I think, and we have such projects can be effective. The only thing you should not do is to replicate such clusters one by one. Let there be one point of attraction. It makes no sense to create such clusters in each Far Eastern region, so that they compete with one another. It is more logical, if in one region the main cluster will be located, and in others - accompanying elements. Means are always not enough, and it seems to me irrational to spray them.

- Representatives of fishermen and fish processors constantly say that the industry is now very close to the crisis, because of the former problems, the current abundance of administrative barriers, and many other factors. You recently visited Kamchatka on a working trip. Is everything really that gloomy?

- As for Kamchatka specifically, it all depends on what kind of fishing we are talking about. If we talk about red fish, then there are already enterprises in Kamchatka that meet modern criteria and allow us to talk about the growth of investments, the introduction of advanced technologies, and so on. We were at an enterprise where the entire production process was fully automated - from entering the catch to gutting, processing, freezing, packaging. Kamchatka has the opportunity to increase its performance through the development of pasture aquaculture. There are, of course, a lot of pitfalls. It is important not to allow individual companies to start catching things that do not belong to them. Now we are completing work on the development of legal acts necessary for the operation of the law on aquaculture. But, I repeat, the prospects for such enterprises are quite large and quite achievable.

In general, our fishing industry is in a good financial position; following the results of last year, the balanced financial result of organizations of the fishing industry amounted to 23 billion rubles. There is an opportunity to receive often good profits and reinvest it in the renewal and modernization of the fishing fleet, processing capacities, in personnel training, and in the increase of staff salaries. Part of the business community does this. And our task is to make such people more. And those who simply use resources for the time being and invest nothing in development should be encouraged to choose a different strategy that is more in line with the interests of the state.

- And what is the most difficult thing in working with investors? How can they be stimulated in the right way?

- The main thing for an investor is to get a return on the invested funds, and this is natural. But it seems to me that a significant part of them did not focus on the need for additional development. Of course, its role was played also by instability, when the rules of the game established by the state periodically changed. Now this is the main argument in opposition to our programs - we will not invest, because the state is unpredictable. Quotas were allocated for 10 years - please invest, develop business. But now, they tell us, we do not know what will happen after 2018 ... This is also a kind of game, a method of pressure, such difficulties will exist, most likely, for a long time. Although they are by and large manageable, if the state conducts its strategy clearly, logically and reasonably.

- It was about the fact that there will be a new branch federal target program, calculated up to 2020 year. Which of its provisions do you consider to be the most important?

- First of all, I will clarify that the FTP is being transformed into a subprogram, it will become an integral part of the state program "Development of the fisheries complex". Additional funding will be provided for it. I would point out three basic elements. First, and this is very important for us: more money will be allocated to the branch science. Thus, we are able to reasonably expand the resource base and increase the catch. Second: money is planned to be allocated for the development of aquaculture, including subsidizing interest rates on loans, including investment. And the third: the activities that are envisaged under the new subprogram, the infrastructure support of the entire industry. It contains additional resources to ensure the safety of fishing, improve the industry monitoring system, reconstruction of scientific research vessels, which in recent years there were only about eighty. Within the framework of this program, a number of hatcheries will be modernized, the quay wall in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky will undergo reconstruction. In general, next year it is planned to allocate 3,1 billion rubles in addition, 2016 billion for 3,2, 2017 billion for 3,3, and 3 billion rubles more annually.

- Within the framework of this program, it was planned to build a plant for the production of young Atlantic salmon in the New Titovka of the Murmansk region, as announced by the Russian Sea-Aquaculture Company. Are there similar investment projects for the Far East?

- In the Far East, the prospects for increasing salmon production are largely related to improving efficiency and the development of hatcheries. In the area of ​​commodity aquaculture, individual projects are being discussed. For example, on Sakhalin there is a joint project with Japanese for the cultivation of fish in cages, but it is still at the stage of discussion and approval. But of course, Rosrybolovstvo is a state body, we can create conditions and provide support, but we can not come in place of an investor. The decisive word for those who conduct business in this area.

- Unfortunately, not all business is equally clean and transparent, like water in the ocean. It is the fish industry that suffers from various kinds of criminal schemes and ineffective poaching. What measures of struggle in this case to you under force?

- The fight against poaching at sea is a zone of responsibility and tasks of the border service. But we, too, are taking steps that allow us to move to a qualitatively different, economic stage in the fight against poaching. Experts cite different numbers characterizing the scale of this phenomenon: for different fishing targets, it is from 10 to 30% of catches. And now efforts are focused on combating industrial poaching, which causes serious damage to the industry.

In particular, the mechanism of agreements to combat IUU fishing, which Russia signed with various countries of the Asia-Pacific region - China, Japan and Korea - has been launched. In Korea, a special service has already been set up that inspects Russian vessels at the port, conducts a similar reconciliation, checks the volume of products delivered to shore.

The second important element is the introduction of electronic field journals, which will allow for the rapid tracking of information on catches and regulate the work of inspection bodies. This will not allow to negotiate on the spot or have a few magazines, as it, alas, sometimes happens. It will always be possible to double-check everything on the electronic database. For example, if a border boat approached a ship - to see how the trial ended, and if there were any violations - why they were not paid attention. Another important element of control and accounting is the electronic veterinary certification system. Its presence will make it possible to compare the volumes of production: what goes according to the veterinary certificate, and what, according to the permission of the Russian Fishery Agency, and in fact it will show unaccounted products. Not all fishermen like this system. They can be understood: no one wants someone to know all his secrets. However, our task is to achieve transparency in the industry.

This also applies to the control of foreign investors in the fishing industry. Amendments have been made to the Federal Law "On the Procedure for Foreign Investments in Business Companies of Strategic Importance for National Defense and State Security", which will allow to deprive quotas of those fishing companies controlled by foreign investors, bypassing the legislation.

- You occupy this chair for six months. What did you achieve for this not too long period, and what are you still aiming at?

“I think we managed to convey to the industry participants, to the employees of the whole system of the Federal Agency for Fishery, a clear understanding that increasing the industry’s transparency is inevitable. The goal is to increase the efficiency of the fishing complex. This requires structural changes, and they will inevitably occur. For example, we are now preparing proposals for reforming the system of our scientific institutions. The powers of the head scientific research institute - VNIRO, coordinating the activities of all branch scientific institutes, will be strengthened. A new procedure for the protection of resource research is being introduced: the necessary budgets for research teams will be substantiated first on the general board of directors of the institutes, and then here in the Federal Agency for Fishery. At the same time, it is planned to introduce a new system for the preparation of analytical materials. This will allow to modernize the mechanism for determining the total allowable catches in order to maximally avoid the influence and pressure of business on these basic figures. We want to clearly delineate the areas of competence. Some experts will collect data, others will prepare justifications, and final decisions will be made by the board of directors of scientific institutions. To avoid this: we study ourselves, submit documents ourselves and protect ourselves, and check ourselves ...

We will improve the efficiency of our fish farmers: we are already moving to the system when they have to justify their budgets, and in the future we will be engaged in reforming this sector - we are not satisfied with the current system. Naturally, without resistance on the ground here will not do, we already observe this. But this is not an excuse to give up your decisions.

- And from other people's ideas? Will Rosrybolovstvo move to the Far East? What ended this epic?

- In my, and not only my, opinion, this is not entirely appropriate. Undoubtedly, the Far East is the largest, very important fishing industry. And for operational regulation here are several of our territorial offices. The task of the central apparatus of the Federal Agency for Fishery is the strategic development of the industry. We are developing documents that facilitate its work, we are preparing the relevant orders, resolutions, bills. Being in the Far East, it would be extremely difficult to coordinate them with all other departments. For example, only now more than a hundred various regulatory legal acts developed by us are being approved, which, we expect, will help the work of the fishing industry.

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