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Quota reflex

Alexander Saveliev on the redistribution of the crab market

Quota reflex
Photo: Corey Arnold /

Alexander Saveliev

Head of the Fisheries Information Agency
More than two years ago, at a meeting of the Presidium of the State Council on the development of the fishery complex, the officials of the Federal Agency for Fishery promised, if not swore, to fill up Russia with affordable and the best domestic fish in the world.

Vladimir Putin, who presided at the meeting, reminded them then, as ten years earlier, in the distant 2007 year they promised the same thing as they heatedly discussed over the quotas for catching fish. And what happened? "I remember how they told me then that we need to switch to the historical way of issuing quotas, and how we all will rejoice after that, as all will be well. Indeed, there are people who are very well. Now we need to distribute this "very well" to the entire population of the country, "he said.

What do we see now? "For people who are very good" - it became even better, and for the "population of the country" seafood became even more inaccessible. On average, consumption fell to 12 kg per year and they are sold two to three times more expensive.

There are even seafood among those that the “population of the country” does not see at all. Crabs, for example, are transported abroad after catching straight. In 2016, 52 thousand tons of crabs worth $ 580 million were exported, in ten months of 2017 year - more than 44 thousand tons for $ 480 million.
The extraction and export of crabs is not just a highly profitable business. This is a mega-profit business. Profitability is from 200 to 1000% or more. Ponder, more than 1000%! Thousands! Bitcoin is resting!

Humanly one can understand a limited group of "people who are very good" from these mega-incomes. What was it for them to read the instructions of Russian President Vladimir Putin to his assistant "to consider and report on the opinion" about changing the rules for issuing quotas for the crab catch. The hysteria in the media started as if the decision to sell crab quotas at public auctions had already been taken. One can only imagine what will happen when this decision is really made in the interests of the "population of the country".

While on the nemery PR budget, "people who are very well" threaten the head of state with a protest congress of fishermen on the eve of the presidential election, which he was invited to invite, scare the economic tsunami in the fishery complex and social collapse. Although internally they probably already reconciled that the state in any way will withdraw mega-incomes into the federal budget, since aquatic biological resources in general and crabs in particular are public property. Do it "people who are very good" now or who for huge money will buy crab quotas at open auctions is generally a secondary issue.

Vladimir Putin, as I understand it, will be guided not only by the report of his assistant, but primarily by the interests of the "population of the country" in making the decision. He has probably already been repeatedly informed that his instructions given at the State Council two years ago, about a multiple increase in tax collections for the export of seafood, as well as on the abolition of the preferential tax treatment regime for export-oriented enterprises, have not been demonstratively executed.

In vain in general these "people who are very good" scream raised. Moreover, in vain, they are trying to put pressure on the president through the media and frighten him. So they only sharpened the problem and attracted everyone's attention to it. Now it is quite obvious that it's time to save money and reduce the profitability of the crab business to the average Russian level.

I do not think that Vladimir Putin has any illusions about their diligence. Oh, he somehow owns much more comprehensive information. Let me remind you that the state functions of controlling the extraction of fish in general and crabs in particular, lie on one of the most powerful intelligence services in the world - the FSB. Someone believes that colleagues can lead him by the nose?

The question, as far as I understand, has already been seriously worked out. Agriculture Minister Alexander Tkachev also drew attention to the crab fishery, riddled with abuse, from which there is neither a fair economic return for the state, nor a worthy remuneration for those working at sea, and even less so for Russian consumers.
"We are talking about preserving the historical principle for fishermen, the auction sale of quotas will affect only crab," the minister said.

"The state is facing the task of increasing the economic return from the catch of highly profitable aquatic biological resources, making this business more transparent," he added.

Rosrybolovstvo is jointly and jointly with the Minister, who is ready to change the rules for the allocation of quotas for the catch of biological resources.

Auctions for the sale of quotas for catching a crab have certain advantages, said the head of the Federal Agency for Fisheries Ilya Shestakov. According to him, such auctions are “one of the possible scenarios for the distribution of quotas for the catch of crabs.” "It has its own clear disadvantages, but also certain advantages, such as obtaining significant income from the implementation of quotas, and the possibility of the arrival of new system market participants."

We will add from ourselves - more effective, responsible and socially-oriented market participants.
The current beneficiaries of the crab quotas resemble the objects of their fishing, which, as is well known, are moving sideways with their claws. However, it is time to change these reflex movements for a meaningful reversal before the President and the “population of the country”.
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