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Far Eastern fishermen (not) shared the catch

It smelled fried at the Far Eastern Scientific and Industrial Council. Fried fish. Not yet caught, but already fried, because the industry forum, perhaps, has never been accompanied by such intensity of passions.

A meeting of the Far Eastern Scientific and Industrial Council took place in Vladivostok on April 14-15. This event is annual, but it is impossible to call it a formal meeting, and even more so boring, because it is here that the fishermen of the Far East are told: where and how much fish they can catch, and what is also important - what fishing gear can be used in this case.

Far Eastern fishermen (not) shared the catch
Photo: EastRussia

“Sharing the skin of an unkilled bear” - read uncaught salmon - began long before the FNPS: an information campaign was launched in the media: fishermen, each in their own region, tried to win over the decision maker (the decision-maker), because what quotas to them depend on will allocate how many fish they will catch, and how many people they will provide with work during the fishing season.

And divide, as always, that: the current forecast for salmon production in the current fishing season is 459 thousand tons. More in recent years was only in 2018 and 2019. The catch of pink salmon is officially forecasted at the level of 322 thousand tons, but its positive adjustment is possible - about 50-70 thousand tons more. But who, how much and what will they give to catch? That is the question.

In the Khabarovsk Territory, for example, in the lower reaches of the Amur and the estuary - the so-called "nizovka" - they cannot divide chum salmon and pink salmon, which spawns in the main Far Eastern river and its tributaries, in particular in the Amgun. Most of the controversy is about what regulatory measures to reduce the fishing load: by banning nets, which will hurt the enterprises of Ulchsky and other "upper" regions (that is, located upstream of the estuary), or the number of "passing" days, and this already hits enterprises of the Nikolaev area. Considering the already low volume, and it is allowed to catch no more than 13 thousand tons by all types of fishing, fishermen of Ulchsky and Komsomolsky districts of Khabarovsk Territory seriously fear that villagers will be left without a catch and, accordingly, without earnings. In their opinion, if the conditions are maintained, “as in the previous year,” they will find themselves in the same crisis as in 2020. Due to the small approaches of chum salmon, they could not master the quotas, hired fishermen were left without work, and besides, local enterprises reduced their participation in the "Affordable Fish" program.

Check-in in the Nikolaev area
On the fishing season of 2020, fishermen of the Nikolaevsky district of the Khabarovsk Territory took fish in the traditional way for local fishing - with the help of "races" - special devices that actually block part of the river, and everyone who fish upstream, due to the ban on smooth nets, remained available only a seine net, which fishermen compared to "catching tea leaves in a mug with a toothpick." The fishermen tried to reason with those very decision makers and even wrote a draft policy document entitled "Economic Strategy for Fisheries in the Amur River Basin", in which they tried to take into account the interests of all participants in the process.

Even on the eve of the main meeting of the fishing council, heated debates unfolded at the so-called "working groups", where fishermen working in one industrial zone or on the same river agree in advance what issues and position they will voice during the FNPS. In the group that dealt with the issues of the Amur, among other proposals, there were very cardinal ones: for example, to completely close any salmon fishery on the Amur. Moreover, for several years. As a result, the Khabarovsk Territory took the opposite position, according to which the ban on networks in 2021 is unacceptable.

“We will be a powerful regulator for the volume and passage of salmon so that the spawning grounds are full. In 2021, it is necessary to build work in such a way as to preserve the Pacific salmon, "- the Deputy Prime Minister - Minister of Agriculture, Trade, Food and Processing Industry of the Khabarovsk Territory Alexander Shkurin announced the position of the region at the Far Eastern National Congress.

Earlier in March, Senator from the Khabarovsk Territory Sergey Bezdenezhnykh raised the issue of a complete ban on "races"

“There is such a huge amount of fish that industrialists do not have time to process. And the chum salmon that could reach the spawning ground dies, ”Sergey Bezdenezhnykh explained at a meeting of the Federation Council.

An official decision on fishing on the Amur has not yet been made, the strategy of fishing in the basin of the main Far Eastern river will be considered separately for another week, and this has already become the main surprise and result of the DVNPS.

“It's great that the social aspect has come out on top. The fact is that the original fishing strategy provided for the prohibition of smooth nets for fishing enterprises, and without nets, the enterprises of Ulchi and other "upper" regions will not be able to master the volumes allocated to them, which means they will not be able to fulfill their social obligations, "the meeting participant shared his opinion DVNPS, Chairman of the Association of Fishing Enterprises of Ulchsky and Komsomolsky Districts of Khabarovsk Territory Maxim Bergelya.

Meanwhile, some fishery producers have already been forced to look for alternative ways of earning money. So, in the once settlement-forming fishing collective farm "Memory of Lenin" from the village of Tyr, Ulchsky district, Khabarovsk Territory after the innovations of 2020 - and it was then that they were first forbidden to use floating nets, and offered to fish with the help of seine nets - the fishermen decided to engage in ... animal husbandry. They brought in a small herd - two milk cows, 22 calves, and two dozen rams, which have already given offspring.

Fishing company farm in Tyr

“This is hopelessness! What to do with people? Say - go for a walk ?! Where will he go? They will become poachers, there are no other options. Or leave, but those who could have already left. Over the past 10 years, the village has lost more than 50% of its population. And qualified specialists leave, who are then very difficult to find. Therefore, we keep them, pay their salaries, even when they are not working, "said Viktor Knyazkin, chairman of the Pamyat Lenin RK.

Among other unexpected decisions taken at the current FNPS is a significant reduction in quotas for Sakhalin fishermen. It is predicted that this summer they will be able to catch only 45 thousand tons of "red" fish: 33 thousand tons of chum salmon, almost 10 thousand tons of pink salmon, 1400 tons of sockeye salmon and 450 tons of coho salmon.

“For a long time, the leaders of many coastal Far Eastern regions wondered that in the coastal zone of Sakhalin they were giving such indicators of salmon catch. "Stakhanov's" figures led to a stupor - everyone understood that sooner or later such indicators would lead to the extermination of the herd, "one of the DVNPS participants shared his opinion with EastRussia.

As for other Far Eastern regions, for example, Kamchatka, which is rightfully considered the “fish breadbasket of Russia” (in 2021, it is planned to harvest almost 460 thousand tons of salmon in the Far East, of which 359 thousand tons - in Kamchatka), has approached the DVNPS with another problem: five coastal processing plants have been built here in recent years, thanks to the investment quotas program. This is exactly half of all that have recently appeared in the Far East. The principle is simple: enterprises invest in infrastructure development, as a result: job creation, increase in tax revenues, etc., for which they receive increased quotas. Such a mechanism made it possible to double the catch volumes in 10 years, and the output of finished products on the peninsula increased by about the same amount. But now this program provides for a reduction in the allocated quotas, and in the next 10 years, Kamchatka fishermen may lose a total of about half a million tons: 200 thousand by 2026, and at the second stage, which is also designed for five years - another 300 thousand tons.

“It turns out that those who have already invested in development, took out loans, monitored the market situation, modified production for the production of deep processing products, in fact they say:“ Thank you all, great fellows! But since you did this work on your own, as well as within the first stage of investment quotas, in any case, we will redistribute the resource to those who, in our opinion, need it more, ”he said in interview to the magazine "Fishnews - Fishery News" Chairman of the Kamchatka Salmon Catchers Association Vladimir Galitsyn.

In addition, this year on the main spawning river of the peninsula - Kamchatka - the "Amur principle" will be introduced for the first time: due to a sharp reduction in the salmon stock entering the river for spawning, RPA - fishing grounds and "passing days" were introduced here.

A separate issue that had to be addressed in the course of the FNPS was pollock fishing, in particular, and the long-term strategy for using this type of WBG. Due to the fact that the ports of China, the main consumer of pollock and other WBGs caught by Russian companies, do not accept the domestic catch, the fishermen are faced with the fact that they simply do not know what to do with pollock. Experts say that the Russians cannot eat the entire catch. Other experts claim that they can eat something, but the Far East simply does not have the required amount of refrigeration equipment, so 350 thousand tons of Russian pollock are now stored in the refrigerators of South Korea.

Taking into account the current situation, the Federal Agency for Fishery said that the program for allocating investment quotas will be continued, which will allow increasing refrigeration capacities and developing other necessary infrastructure in a few years.

“It was decided that there will be investment quotas. In the Far East, 20% of investment quotas will be distributed starting from 2023. And for processing plants, perhaps even from 2022, ”said the head of the Federal Agency for Fishery Ilya Shestakov.

However, the figures for the upcoming fishing season can be revised for any Far Eastern region: "science" will monitor the approaches of fish and, if necessary, adjust quotas. Moreover, for the first time it is proposed to do this in the format of videoconferencing sessions.

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