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Ivasi and with what she eats

Far Eastern fishermen bring to their shores the first in 25 years of catch of this once-one of the main types of commercial fish in the USSR

Ivasi and with what she eats
For more than twenty years, Russian fishermen have been waiting for the return of Far Eastern sardines to our waters - known since the Soviet times as "herring of Ivasi". In 1992, large-scale fishing of this fish completely stopped and for many years was struck from the list of commercial industrial species. And here she is again with us! But whether its fishing will be profitable and whether Iwasi will occupy a worthy place on the tables of Russians - there are as yet no answers to these questions.


The press conference held on Tuesday in Vladivostok organized by the Association of Primorye Fisheries Enterprises in conjunction with the extractive fishing company "Dobroflot" was devoted to the resumption by Primorye fishermen of the forgotten fishery of Ivasi. And gathered a fairly large number of journalists, experts and stakeholders.

They remembered that this fish was first of all given its external resemblance to herring in the days of the USSR, and the second - to the uncomfortable Soviet buyer, the word "herring" was more familiar than some "sardine". Possessing an extremely low price and good flavoring properties (the cost of it in Soviet times was well below the usual herring and slightly higher than that already pollocked already pollock), Iwashi replaced the real herring, becoming some sort of ersatz product for a spoiled "builder of communism".

The volumes of annual sardine catch in Soviet times exceeded at times 1 million tons (of which about 600 thousand tons were extracted by the Far East). Most of the catch (as well as pollock) went to feed for livestock farms, and only about 300 thousand tons went to the trade network in salted or canned form. Part was spent on making fish oil. But, according to the head of the Fisheries Information Agency Alexander Savelyev, Ivasi as a commodity - first of all, the product of the Soviet deficit, fish production - in particular. To save fish, it was forced to salt and sell in barrels, and also canned. As a result, it turned out to be a cheap and affordable product for the common people. In addition, thanks to the big catches, the plans were fulfilled. The leaders of the branch reported on over-fulfillment "up" and receive bonuses, and fishermen - decent earnings. Obtain Ivasi was simply more profitable than pollock. After all, Ivashi cost more in those days, and it simply did not have alternatives, not even ordinary herring (especially at the turn of 1980-1990). The notorious pollock, or sprat, was not taken into serious consideration and was never a "table decoration". Undemanded by the food industry and the trade network, the majority of the catch went to processing: for fodder for sables, foxes and other fur-bearing animals into special fur farming enterprises, in the many existing once in the territory of the former USSR.

Due to the peculiarities of migration cycles caused by the specificity of reproduction and changes in the direction of the underwater currents, the Far Eastern sardine (Sardinops melanostictus, also called ma-ivasi, which in Japanese means "sardine") then appeared, then disappeared from the water area of ​​the Russian Far East. It was actively mined in 1920, but in 1940 it disappeared to return to 1960. The next peak of its "popularity" was already in the years of stagnation and perestroika. At the beginning of 1990, Ivasi completely disappeared. And only two years ago, when experts from TINRO-Center found in the ocean its first commercial clusters, Rosrybolovstvo set before fishermen a priority task of resuming fishing and saturation of the Iwas of the domestic Russian market.

Researchers believe that the accumulations of this trans-zonal fish approach the Far Eastern shores according to the 25-year cycle. Following this hypothesis, a stably significant approach to the population is expected by the year 2017. That will allow fishermen, according to the TINRO-center, to count on catches of one and more million tons annually. And not only in Primorye. So, the first "signs" of the mass approach by scientists were discovered five years ago, when this by-catch began to fall more and more often in the by-catch, and on the banks of Sakhalin it began to carry out a considerable amount of it by storm surf. As the specialists of SakhNIRO pointed out at the time, "the length of the site and the density of the layer of fish thrown ashore indicate that not single specimens came to the shore, but large clusters". The sea then still brought to the Sakhalin inhabitants a herring of Ivasi and brought her a lot! "The discovery of the accumulations of Far Eastern sardines in the south-west of Sakhalin in the fall of the year 2011 could be safely regarded as the first signs of the beginning of the growth of numbers and the restoration of the stocks of this fish," then the Sakhalin-Kurilsk Department of Rosrybolovstvo revived.

Who is betting?

First of all, the fishermen themselves. According to the Governor of the Dobroflot Group of Companies Alexandra Efremova, Thus, a certain compromise will be reached between the state and fishermen, who by tonnage can already demonstrate a very significant increase in the catch (what the officials demand), provide their fleet and fishermen with work, and a high-quality and inexpensive product - the market.

For Dobroflot, "deprived" by quotas for valuable species, unquoted tonnage (Ivassi herrings are extracted by enterprises on request as a transzone unquoted species) is an excellent opportunity to use the fleet on the harvest and processing of Ivasi, this is an additional load for the floating factory and miners in the intertool. According to Alexander Efremov, the largest factory, working in the company - "Vsevolod Sibirtsev" - has already recycled the first 500 tons of Ivasi. In total, by the end of the year, the company plans to produce about 4-5 thousand tons of this type of fish, the first batch of which will arrive on the shelves at the end of August. The wholesale price of canned products of herring in the bank №26 (according to GOST 5981-56) from the manufacturer will (according to preliminary calculations) 100 rubles per bank and will be cheaper than regular herring, Efremov assures. Currently fishing is carried out by three vessels of the type of STR in the region of the southern Kuriles.

In total, Rosrybolovstvo received 18 applications from the Far Eastern fishermen for catching herring and ivasi in the Kuril region. Among the applications are companies from Sakhalin, Kamchatka and the Kuriles. Thus, the total catch may amount to about 20 thousand tons by the end of the year. You can catch more, scientists are sure, but no one is going to do this yet. “According to scientists' forecast, the catch may amount to about a million tons. The fishery complex of the country as a whole produces 4,2 million tons per year. We have a unique opportunity to increase the Russian catch by 25%. But we need to prepare for this, ”emphasizes the President of the Association of Fisheries Enterprises of Primorye George Martynov.

Cautious forecasts of fishermen can be explained. Purchasing demand for this product has not been studied: how much will the population of Ivasi demand? What will be the opportunities for its implementation and promotion abroad? In addition, the cost of production is high so far: re-equipping a vessel of the type of STR for purse-fishing (the method of catching iwasi) costs considerable expenses. The production of a net alone will cost 30 million rubles. Whether such investments will pay off and for what period is still unknown. So the current Putin is, rather, the character of a large global industrial prospecting. And it is aimed first of all at studying the possibilities of own and potential market opportunities both in our country and abroad.

In the opinion of Alexander Savelyev, if it is possible to reach harvest volumes of one million tons, then in Russia the herring of Ivasi will remain unclaimed - we simply will not eat so much. "It is enough to look at pollock: most of the catch" left "for export to China. Far Eastern fishermen extracted 1,5 million tons in six months and only 304 thousand tons were sent to the domestic Russian market. Only one-fifth of the volume. Today, fish consumption in Russia per capita has decreased to 14 kg. The Ministry of Health is recommended to eat at least 22 kg. The failure in consumption arose because the fish began to cost a lot, it became inaccessible to the majority. And it is impossible to make it more accessible in the current economic realities, the expert is convinced. - Fishermen prefer export deals. It's more profitable, and the regulator has not done anything to motivate the domestic market. "

And yet, the fact that Ivasi will reappear on Russian shelves, thanks to the activity of fishermen, can only be welcomed. Someone will remember a long forgotten taste, someone will open it for themselves for the first time. And if the Russian retail chains do not do 100% of the wrap-up for new products, then it will have all chances to regain the nationwide love and recognition. Moreover, under the current crisis, the domestic consumer, like his predecessor in the years of the USSR, is becoming less and less pretentious. And the "generation" of the Soviet deficit can again take its rightful place in the ration of a thrifty Russian.
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