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Large fish devour small

Alexander Saveliev on Mergers and Acquisitions in Fisheries

Large fish devour small
Photo: stop-book.com

Alexander Saveliev

Head of the Fisheries Information Agency
Five hundred years have passed, but nothing has changed.

Like the graphic genius of Peter Brueghel the Elder, nicknamed Muzhitsky, on the famous engraving "Big Fish Eats Small", now in the fishing industry of Russia the same passions are boiling.

The news came that people from Roman Abramovich's team became co-owners of Sakhalin fishing company Poronai. And before there was a message that the people of Gennady Timchenko bought either from the Chinese, or from Russian individuals, fish-producing enterprises with a huge number of quotas, with a worn-out fleet and turned into a "Russian fishing company." And how many more people from a well-known list of billionaires are now scouring the fishery complex ?! And the industry has richly grown its billionaires!

I have no doubt there will be more news. The successes of Russian fishermen, impressive economic indicators, enviable profitability have drawn like a magnet to Big Business renewable raw materials. Well, he has a short conversation with a small one.

Big Business has a lot of ambition, however, as they say, a swing for a ruble, and a blow for a penny.

This is their main theme for the last four years. According to Rosrybolovstvo, in 2012 there were 4000 vessels in the industry. Two years later - 2600. That is, the rate of retirement of the fishing fleet, the depreciation of which is estimated at 90%, is catastrophic. And they only promise to build about 30 new ones, of which 7 have just been laid at the shipyard, as the head of the Federal Agency for Fishery Ilya Shestakov said at yesterday's meeting with Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. That is, it will take over 100 years to restore the potential. And only on condition that the companies of this very Big Business do not abandon the dubious program, as, for example, the "Preobrazhenskaya Trawl Fleet Base" has already done.

Now it is quite obvious that the project, for which the law was changed and issued about thirty decisions of the government, failed. The investment quotas will allow the Russian Fisheries Company, and perhaps even a couple of billionaires, to update their collapsing fishing fleet, but certainly not at the Admiralty shipyards, filled with defense orders, and absolutely not from domestic components.

In the industry, newcomers behave like an elephant in a china shop, and everyone strives to modernize and rebuild something to suit their Big Business interests. The fishermen have just begun to move away from the investment scourge and resign themselves to the fact that they will now annually withdraw 20% of the total allowable catch from them - and this is no less than 600 thousand tons of aquatic biological resources - for the construction of ships for companies of just this Big Business is like a new attack looming. Now modernizers have their eyes on the crab. And it would be good, as is customary and as permissible by law, to buy companies with quotas for this very crab, but no: inspired by investment quotas, they decided not to bother, but to put these crab quotas at auctions.

Then the entire industry, hardened by storms, shuddered!

All were revolted: associations and unions, bankers and businessmen, veterans and young specialists, heads of Far Eastern regions and the plenipotentiary in the Far Eastern District. Yes, there the plenipotentiary, Vladimir Putin himself, the president of the Russian Federation, at the December press conference clearly stated that the historical principle is good for fishing, it needs to be preserved.

All were unambiguous about the catastrophic threat to the well-established historical principle from the disruptive crab auctions. All are ready to firmly defend the historical principle of giving fishermen the opportunity to fish not only crabs, but fish in general for the coming fifteen-year period at the forthcoming IV Congress of Russian fish industry workers. But will that stop the Big Fish ?!

A huge fish is shown with a ripped belly and an open mouth, from which other small fish drop out. Those, in turn, keep smaller fish, and in the air above the water an average fish flies with an open snout, hoping to grab the prey. On the hill is a creature resembling a person with a fish body, which drags its own prey in the mouth.

In federal and non-federal, sectoral and non-industrial mass media, a PR company is deployed, which should convince us how the country will be covered with donated fish and crab at the price of herring, it is only the quota for these crabs put up for auctions. By the way, the authors of crazy statements are not indicated, as in his time Peter Bruegel signed his famous engraving in the name of Bosch in order to please the rich customers.

The engraving is now strikingly modern ... So, Bruegel depicts the world of people, where the strong devours the weak, but he can also be the victim of a larger creature.

Agree, the Dutch painter PR more abruptly. He and through half a thousand years pierces us with the thought that everyone is a predator and a victim at the same time. Nowhere and no one knows what is happening in reality, and what will happen next second.

I, like Bruegel, have no interest in a particular person, whether Abramovich or Timchenko, Vorobiev or Frank, Malkin or Panchenko, Orlov or Ponomariov, as well as I have no illusions about humanity: pathetic, weak and lazy. As they say in our village, there is always more fish in someone else's boat.
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