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Far Eastern fishermen intend to restore fishing in Antarctica - and for this they want to build three super-trawlers in Asian shipyards
During the presentation of investment projects at the Eastern Economic Forum, among others, the project “Creation of an Antarctic krill technopark in the Primorsky Territory.” The project is interesting for its geography (fishing in Antarctic waters) and ambitions. So, at the first stage, it is planned to build three super trawlers and their operation in the extraction of Antarctic krill, the total investment is 26 billion rubles, the need for financial resources is 6,2 billion rubles. The three supertrawlers are expected to produce 2019 billion rubles per year by 16, with an annual catch of about 450 thousand tons of krill.
Oleg Bratukhin, Chairman of the Board of Directors of JSC Russian Pelagic Research Company, spoke about the main aspects of the project in an interview with EastRussia.
- In the presentation of the investment project you made a special emphasis on the “historical right” of the Russian Federation to catch Antarctic krill. What is this principle? Is it also about the water area at the other end of the globe?
- Fishing for Antarctic krill is regulated and regulated by its Antarctic Commission. Accordingly, there is an agreement on extraction. Today the declarative principle operates, since this resource is under-developed. However, when it will be fully developed - and China, Norway have serious ambitions - so when the total permissible catch that defines the Antarctic Commission will be fully chosen, then the historical principle comes into play. It is used in all conventions - how much the country has caught for the entire previous period, so much will it get this resource.
- So this is our voucher, in case the world begins to actively catch krill?
- It will not happen today, but I can confidently say that it will happen in the next few years. The Chinese generally consider Antarctic krill to be the only resource that can produce large volumes in the foreseeable future. Not so long ago, 2 months ago, the Chinese government announced that they were planning to catch and secure for themselves, it is not clear how, however, 2 million tons of krill. The first modern Chinese ship is already under construction. I don’t think it will be successful in catching this krill, however, they are very active towards their goal. This will happen quickly enough. For a long time, fishing for this resource was constrained by the lack of technology that would allow it to be actively caught. The Norwegians showed these technologies, they became famous. This is the only free resource in such volumes on the planet today, there are no others anymore. It won't be long before it will be full.
- If you talk about your project, how much time do you need and how much money will it take to build a vessel?
- The construction of the vessel takes 18 months. To start the money you need 20% for an advance payment to the shipyard. In total, we attract investments in the amount of 95 million dollars.
- It would be good to build in Russia, but, unfortunately, while there is no place to build in Russia, no one can do this. Therefore, today we are considering Asian shipyards. First we considered European, in particular, Norwegian shipyards. But today, unfortunately, this is very expensive. And we are counting on Asian shipyards.
- How was the presentation of your investment project?
- In general, I think it is quite interesting. Our producers in the field of animal husbandry, poultry farming, especially aquaculture, should evaluate what the industry in the Far East can do if krill meal appears. They will be able to compete globally with the same Chinese mills. This is a different quality of products, both fish and meat.
- Other quality - because another base?
- Another quality - because Omega3 fatty acids, which form the basis of pharmaceutical fat and exist in krill flour, provide the effect of antibiotics, increase in the growth of broilers and so on. These are our old Soviet studies, because we caught a lot of this krill. And today these developments are confirmed by Western, Norwegian research. In China, there is a state program for the development of the Antarctic krill fishery, they have established the Antarctic krill technology park, and the result is so successful that in 2017, their technology park will be turned into 6 Antarctic krill technology parks in the areas: food products, pharmacology, medicine, feed for aquaculture, for livestock, etc.
- Accordingly, do you have a strong scientific base?
- Of course. I'm not representing an institute, but a private company, but when we talk about the Antarctic krill technopark that we plan to create here, we are counting on the scientific potential that we have in the Far East. We have a very large reserve in the field of creating various products from the sea, we will use this potential.
The amount of Antarctic krill allowed by CCAMLR is now 8,7 million tonnes. This is the largest permitted catch of any species on the planet that is currently being fished. In terms of the combination of catch potential and consumer properties, Antarctic krill is by far the largest and most promising free resource in the world fishery.
Historically, the commercial exploitation of krill was started by Russian fishermen based on the data obtained by Russian scientists. By the end of the 70s, the krill fishery had exited its experimental phase and in 1982 reached a record level of 528 tonnes, while the total catch by the USSR was 699% of the global catch. For a long time, almost until the complete cessation of domestic fishing in 93, the USSR, and later Russia, accounted for the bulk of the catch.