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The best fish for America

Alexander Savelyev about CNN news about Russian fish

Sunday news from CNN, a common RBC: “... almost half of the fish sticks that were served in American school canteens were made from Russian fish, processed in China. Because of its cheapness, pollock from Russia occupied a share of $ 200 million in the US domestic market. ” The American media set out their vision of the national tragedy, and what does this mean for us?

The best fish for America

Alexander Saveliev

Head of the Fisheries Information Agency

You can, of course, rejoice at the American schoolchildren, who in their diet have excellent dietary fish, as they say, of the northern seas, “the last squirrel on Earth of wild origin, grown without human intervention.” At the same time, you can sympathize with our students who do not have this opportunity. In general, fish consumption in Russia last year dropped to critical 12 kg on average per person per year. This is on 10 kg less than the consumption rate recommended by the Ministry of Health.

Russian pollock, as well as Russian fish in general, is mainly exported. In January-November last year (data for the whole year have not yet been received), Russian fish exports exceeded 2 million tons. The growth in comparison with the same period of the previous 2017 of the year was 4,2%. This is a lot, and mostly fish swims abroad from the Far East. According to the data of the Federal Customs Service of Russia, frozen pollock remains the leader in the total export structure - 40% of the total volume, almost 700 thousand tons. This pollock, in fact, goes to feed American schoolchildren, not ours.


Because over the past 25 years, the Chinese have built a system when the Russian frozen fish raw materials fall exactly on their processing factories. And it will get at bargain prices, despite the fact that exports for Russian fishermen remain much more attractive economically than deliveries to their native shore.

Returning VAT to exporters, the lack of export duties and administrative barriers in foreign ports and other “nishtyaki” create an insurmountable advantage over deliveries to the domestic market. Yes, and closer to drive there than to Moscow.

In addition, I repeat, for all export advantages and Chinese surplus value, fish of Russian origin has a significant price advantage not only in the US, but also in any other market, including, by the way, the Russian market itself. The Chinese are able to add not only the cost of the fish fillet!

That is, it was not us who filled the American fish market for $ 200 million, but the Chinese, naturally, with our fish.

CNN channel blames the administration of US President Donald Trump. She, I quote, "inadvertently provided a price advantage for the Russian pollock, which is sold in America in the form of fish sticks and imitation of crab meat."

However, this is not the case at all!

We ourselves created the situation, as a result of which we were in secondary roles, turned into suppliers of raw materials that are used as weapons in the US-China trade war. From Great Fishing Power, we have become a bystander, a raw materials appendage of superpowers. Worse, it remains only to sell quotas to foreigners, to which we, in fact, are gradually moving, organizing auctions in fisheries.

In this, fortunately, everything is not going smoothly and even, on the contrary, scandalously. IAA "East of Russia" addressed this topic more than once.

Rosrybolovstvo still squeakly published on federal portal auction amendments to the law on fisheries and even held in a hurry the meeting gathered with representatives of the industry, which also did not go without incidents. On it, the head of the department, Ilya Shestakov, uttered a sacramental phrase, which, according to the author of the "Interlocutor", it may cost him a career: “Am I supposed to show you all the instructions of the president ?!”

I will repeat this statement, Ilya Shestakov, said at a meeting with representatives of the industry in the Federal Agency for Fishery "to change the" historical principle "of the distribution of quotas for extracting aquatic biological resources and introducing auctions."

Representatives of the industry were in shock. Until now, the entire fishing industry in Russia was convinced that only the “Russian Fishery Company” of the oligarch Gleb Frank was behind the intention to return the auction nightmare eighteen years ago. Now the head of Rosrybolovstvo made it clear that some secret agreements exist with the president.

Of course, this is hardly so in reality, because someone who, and Vladimir Putin, publicly supported the “historical principle” of the distribution of the right to trade, and that it must be preserved. However, the intention to break the basic principle of the Russian fishing legislation has never occurred to anyone in the name of the head of state. That is, Ilya Shestakov raised the auction scandal in fishing to the level of the head of state. Just like CNN with Donald Trump!

President Vladimir Putin alone lacked this now.

The head of state is preparing for a message to the Federal Assembly. The topic of redistribution of the fish industry entered the top 10 of the most "burning" socio-economic problems last year. The plenipotentiary in the Far Eastern Federal District, Yury Trutnev, on the instructions of the president the other day, will consider auction amendments at a government subcommittee for the development of the Far East fisheries. Vladimir Vladimirovich, naturally, will not get around this most pressing question, and here is a setup from Ilya Shestakov.


It is important to understand the situation. She was very clearly defined by the Public Council at its recent emergency meeting.

“The position of the public council at Rosrybolovstvo,” I quote from the publication on the site of the PAR, “is that changing the basic principles for regulating access to aquatic bioresources is unacceptable. By the beginning of 2000, the fishing industry was financially non-transparent and economically low-powered. The extraction of aquatic biological resources has fallen to a historic minimum, the pursuit of profits in foreign markets has turned into massive exports at dumping prices and tax evasion. The economic decline of the industry was accompanied by acute social conflicts in coastal regions. The reason for this was the lack of legal guarantees for enterprises of the fisheries complex with regard to the initial production resource due to the use of experimental approaches to regulating the industry. Destructive consequences were, for example, auctions for the sale of rights to extract aquatic biological resources, introduced in 2001, ”.

Economists estimate that a return to the auction principle in the period up to 2020 of the year will lead to cumulative economic losses of economic entities and coastal regions in excess of 250 billion rubles. This is almost 20 times more than the Chinese price of Russian pollock on food for American schoolchildren.

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