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Ilya Shestakov: I can not change the mechanism of investment quotas

Head Rosrybolovstva shared with EastRussia expectations from the forthcoming Congress of fisheries complex workers

I met with the head of Rosrybolovstva Ilya Shestakov on the eve of the IV Congress of fisheries workers. The Congress is declared as "fateful" and "crucial". In the fishing industry, they constantly change something and break it, but there is still no happiness. Fishermen can not "wash off" of labels in any way: for example, a very good domestic fish appears even in cheap online stores, but the question "why do not the Russians see the fish?" Publicists and bloggers will ask, it seems, endlessly. Often fishermen are scolded for what everyone else praises, for example, for high export volumes. And they are praised for what others abuse, for example, for a pronounced consolidation of assets in the hands of a few companies. We decided to build a conversation on these stereotypes and paradoxes, because it is around them that the discussion is doomed to rotate both at the congress and after it. 

Ilya Shestakov: I can not change the mechanism of investment quotas
Photo: Tass / VEF Photobank
- On what really important problems will the congress concentrate, what solutions can be proposed?
- Firstly, we will talk about methods of regulating the industry, including the development of new, promising fishing facilities. Although now we can say that these are not such new objects, they are, rather, those resources that we started to harvest again, and the volumes of catch that need to be increased. For example, mackerel and sardine iwashi. It is necessary to change the regulation of catch of salmon. Looking at the situation in the Far East, we understand that it is necessary to take some innovations: the situation with fish approaches is changing, it goes north, therefore, it is necessary to reduce the fishing load on Sakhalin and on the Amur, to create more precise, point regulation.

Secondly, we are talking about reducing administrative barriers. Although we constantly and painstakingly work on this, there are still many unresolved issues. Representatives of the executive bodies will attend the congress. It is very important that they hear not only from the owners of companies, but also from the captains of the courts about what is happening in reality, where there are excesses. To reduce the administrative burden must be approached in a very balanced way: you can not lose control, but the load should not be unreasonable.

The third important unit is the working conditions of the fishermen. Some companies still do not comply with industry standards and in terms of official wages, and on working conditions directly at sea, and on issues of safety engineering.

It is clear that the issue of conservation of rescue vessels under the authority of Rosrybolovstvo will be discussed. Rescue vessels have their own specifics, unlike the vessels of Rosmorrechflot, they do not just stand in the port and provide assistance only at the time of the accident, they are constantly on the field.

And, finally, these are the issues of education: qualified personnel are not enough. A lot of specialists are being produced, but their number is decreasing due to a decrease in funding. The number of institutions is also decreasing, this leads to the loss of specialization. The issues of financing in general - science, education, fisheries protection - the most important topic of discussion.

- What prevents some companies from paying a decent salary, poverty or greed?
- Salaries in the industry are considerable, but some companies pay them informally. The gray part of the salary should be taken outside. There is also a problem with working conditions: there are standards, they are often violated, and the reason, of course, is the greed of shipowners who believe: "Since we pay wages and people agree to it, we are ready to work in such conditions, so everything is fine" . Yes, they are ready. But it's not right. At the congress it will be decided to establish the Association of Employers and in the future we plan to conclude a tripartite agreement (regulator, business, trade unions), this is a very good step forward.

- Fishermen often throw a reproach: where is the fish on the shelves? Valuable varieties are exported, but if gas producers are not reproached for exporting gas, fishermen are criticized. And what is the real reason for the emptyness of the counters? Maybe the population simply does not have effective demand?
- Analogy with the same oil is. We struggled for a long time to supply gasoline abroad, but for some reason we do not supply it. And gasoline in the country is still not the cheapest.

In Russia - limited consumer demand. Supply more products to the market than it consumes, meaningless. Fish at the delivery from the place of fishing to the counter becomes more expensive, and this also affects the consumption volumes. Fish is there, and in excess, limited demand makes it possible to supply surpluses for export. There is nothing wrong.

Bad is not that the fish is exported, but that raw materials are exported for export, which is processed in the same China, and then comes to us in the domestic market. There are questions of unfair competition from the Chinese manufacturers, the quality of their products. This situation needs to be corrected. What we do within the framework of investment quotas, that is, we create processing on ships and on the shore, will just provide an opportunity to export products with higher added value.

- How did the WTO commitment to zero export and import duties affect the situation?
- The export duty is not yet zero, but it is rapidly falling within the limits of obligations and will be reset. If we kept the export duty, we would have more opportunities on a legal basis to stimulate export products with a high degree of processing. Now, unfortunately, there is no such possibility. It was necessary to insist on keeping the export duty.

- As far as I remember, the main thing in the negotiations was the Ministry of Economic Development, and the Ministry of Agriculture agreed with everyone?
- Not certainly in that way. I participated in negotiations with the Ministry of Agriculture (in the rank of deputy minister - note EastRussia). The Ministry of Agriculture took a very active part in critical positions at that time, and this was quoting for a number of products (pork, poultry, beef - where Russia reached serious levels of self-sufficiency). For fish, unfortunately, the negotiations were conducted by Rosrybolovstvo, which at that time was not in the area of ​​responsibility of the Ministry of Agriculture. Now, something to change is already wrong, commitments are accepted. We are discussing the possibilities of change through other mechanisms. For example, the possibility of influencing the market through the catch rate is actively discussed. But it is very difficult to administer: you have to prove that he caught it himself, exported it abroad, and did not sell it through some trading company, and so on. The issue of administration, including the traceability of the movement of a product, is very complex.

- How do you interact with other departments? With the Ministry of Agriculture, Minskostokrazvitiya, Border Guard Service?
- We work with border guards, in my opinion, quite constructively. A working group has been created - this is the main tool for interaction in decision-making. You need to find a balanced approach: you can not lose control capabilities and mindlessly remove all regulatory functions. There is movement forward, we argue, prove, discuss. The main discussion issue, which still remains: how to improve control in coastal areas when catching anadromous fish species. It is very difficult to distinguish between areas of responsibility.

As for Minvostokrazvitiya, we discuss all their initiatives. Initiatives are different, there are many initiatives. We believe that the main thing is that all these initiatives should be aimed at deliberate development, and not in the spirit of "all solve everything." So it is impossible, unfortunately. On the water, except for fishermen, except for aquaculture enterprises, there are other users - for example, amateur fishermen. There are recreation areas, nature protection zones. It is necessary to act very carefully, in a balanced manner. Do a comprehensive analysis before making decisions. It seems to me that we from Minvostokrazvitiya work in this way: proposals that come from them, we discuss, and we find a compromise solution.

- Do you have enough power?
- Yes, absolutely enough. With the Agriculture Ministry in general, there are no difficulties, I am in the same person in charge of issues in the Ministry of Agriculture, and here (Shestakov retains the status of Deputy Minister of Agriculture - note EastRussia). To say that we need some additional powers, I would not. In addition, any administrative reform will lead to the next re-issue of regulatory documents, and this paralysis in the work for at least a few months.

- You mentioned aquaculture, and an important problem is connected with it: it does not develop in the Far East, they say, there are not enough legislative acts. What is the true cause of inhibition?
- I think that the legislative base as a whole suffices. Some point changes in the Forest Code, in the possibility of granting land plots - yes, probably, they are needed and they can be contributed, but this will only be an additional stimulus for development, which no one is holding back now. If you take a mariculture plot, you need to understand where you will place your base in the seaside area, on the shore. There are no other restrictions, in fact, no. Many talk about the impossibility of protecting, but all the powers are already there: they are spelled out in the Civil Code, the Supreme Court issued a decree on who has the right to aquaculture facilities in the fish-breeding areas.

What really is missing is knowledge. We distributed about 60 thousand hectares for the Far East, but the knowledge of the people who took them is still insufficient. There are not enough personnel, because in Russia they have never been engaged in this, and the cadres need to be educated, it is necessary to involve them. In addition, there is a shortage of planting material. These are two long-term tasks that both the business and the regulator have to solve.

- Is the scheme of gosling of planting materials according to the same model as with livestock breeding in livestock been considered?
- I do not think that this should be done by the state, it's business. State support - yes, but not a substitution by the state for business. There are already subsidies for the purchase of fish planting material - subsidizing interest rates on loans attracted. You can discuss some other forms of support, if they are needed. But it seems to me that for the development of mariculture, the deficit of state support is not the most important obstacle.

- As part of the investment quotas, 25% was allocated to create a coastal infrastructure, 75% - to modernize the fleet. The business is dissatisfied: the quota for the "shore" was not enough, and «there are too many of them. For example, the Transfiguration Base of the trawl fleet withdrew its application for participation in the investmentquot program. Will the proportions be changed, the mechanism is changed?
- Firstly, we were not initially disposed to allocate investment quotas for fish processing enterprises. Not because we think it doesn't matter. This is important, but very difficult to administer. If a vessel is clear, it has dimensions, there is the capacity of the processing plant installed on it, there are, in the end, the catch volumes, painted according to technical characteristics. However, it is not easy to formalize the properties of enterprises “on the shore”. It is possible to build two enterprises with the same processing capacity, but one will be super-modern and innovative, and the other, sorry, a barn with cheap Chinese equipment, claiming exactly the same amount of state support. It is difficult to trace this, to say: “build only according to this technology”, to determine what equipment to use, and in general, it is not the task of the state to impose technical solutions on business.

Secondly, we still believe that the fleet needs to be modernized, as well as build a new one. The number of accidents is not reduced. Some ships upgraded, that is, increased efficiency, but the "box", that is, the ship itself, does not correspond to the high-tech "stuffing", does not pull.

Thirdly, the efficiency of processing fish in the sea will still be economically higher than the freezing of fish on the ship and its processing on the shore, especially in the Far East. That is why the state should stimulate the creation of modern ships with a full cycle on board.

From the point of view of stimulating fish processing, we laid another mechanism in the new law: an increasing coefficient of 1,2 for those who supply catches of fresh, chilled or live fish to the shore. This is a good enough incentive to carry fish to the Russian coast, and, once raw materials appear, volumes for capacity utilization, investors have an incentive to develop coastal processing.

The fact that in the Far East so much interest in the construction of onshore processing plants is not bad, but we do not deem it necessary to change the proportions (25 to 75).

The fleet needs six large-tonnage vessels, which are planned to be built in the Far East following the first stage of selection of applications, but even they are not enough. We hope that many companies will look at the first results, the first experience, and by the next year, in the second application campaign, we will choose an investment quota for large-tonnage vessels.

I know that some companies have a mistrust of domestic shipyards, and they are going to build new ships, but abroad.

- Actually, they do not like it - the need to build themselves.
- It was not a secret for anyone that construction on domestic shipyards is more expensive, and the process is still less predictable. Because at us or never such did not build, or have forgotten, how it becomes. But that is why additional incentives are given, and not bad: if you translate into a monetary equivalent the cost of a quota, you will get a very serious figure.

- It turns out, the companies showed up, as if demonstrating their fundamental interest in the mechanism, but then refused?
"We have only one refusenik, and we do not believe that this is critical." The rest did not qualify because, unfortunately, their documents did not meet the requirements laid down in the government's regulations on investment quotas.

- What decision will be made on crab quotas?
- It's hard for me to say, it will continue (the historical principle of quota allocation - note EastRussia) or not, because there is a discussion, and discusses completely different options. It is necessary to weigh everything very clearly, in each of the proposals there are minuses and pluses. It is necessary to understand collectively where the pluses are more and less negative. This is not only a task of Rosrybolovstvo, it also affects other sectors, other issues related to the country's economic development, social and legal aspects. We need to discuss all this in detail in order to take a balanced, balanced decision.

- Consolidation of assets in the Russian economy is typical for all industries, and it has not bypassed the fish industry. Economists look at it in different ways. What is your point of view?
- Indeed, a difficult question. First, much depends on the industry. In fisheries, consolidation on certain objects, on certain volumes, for example, on industrial catch, is probably good. Because the efficiency of both the catch and the economy of the company increases. With this it is difficult to argue. What is lost? Opportunity of competition. This is a serious challenge: there are big players in the market who can manage the market.

It seems to me that we need to balance ourselves: in certain areas a large business can work, while others should have small and medium-sized enterprises. This is important not only from the point of view of the economy, but also from the point of view of social policy: small businesses are often located in remote villages and, in fact, support life there.

When we laid the mechanism for stimulating coastal fishing - delivering live, chilled and live fish ashore, we thought not only about fish processing plants, but also about small enterprises. They have small quotas, small vessels and they critically important the possibility of additional attraction of raw materials. I would have divided it: the coastal zone should remain for small and medium-sized enterprises, "promka" (industrial fishing in remote areas of the ocean - note EastRussia) - for big business.
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