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Stranded: fishermen suffered losses due to unsuccessful fishing season in the Far Eastern Federal District
Fisheries and transport enterprises remained at a loss in the Far East at the end of the year
Prices for red caviar this fall in Russia soared by almost a third, experts expect a further rise in the price of this product by the New Year. Fish is also becoming more expensive - it's all about the extremely unsuccessful Putin this year in the Far East. In the meantime, buyers are assessing whether they can afford to spend on such products, fishermen and transport organizations are already reporting financial losses. It is hardly worth waiting for an improvement in the situation - scientists warn that the time of record-breaking Putin is passing.
According to Rosrybolovstvo, the catch of Pacific salmon this season amounted to about 300 thousand tons (in just 11 months of 2020, 3,3 million tons of various biological resources were harvested in the Far Eastern fishery basin). This is the smallest catch in the last 11 years. Moreover, in comparison with the result two years ago, it is 56% lower.
Redfish fishery rates are traditionally compared either between odd or even years due to the peculiarities of the life cycle of pink salmon, which accounts for a significant amount of catch in the summer-autumn season... However, the decline in salmon production - by almost 40% - was also observed by last year's season. The salmon fishery in 2018 and 2019, when 677 thousand and 480 thousand tons were harvested, respectively, was a record for many decades. Against this background, the dynamics of underfishing in the current Putin looks especially contrasting.
The season turned out to be unsuccessful for almost all Far Eastern regions where salmon enter. At the beginning of October, when the main salmon fishing season ended, in Sakhalin compared to the same period in 2018, the production of red fish decreased by 51% (to 54 thousand tons), in the Khabarovsk Territory - by 22% (to 33,2 thousand tons) , although its individual fishing areas gave a good catch. Kolyma faced a decline - by a quarter (to 5,4 thousand tons) and Chukotka - by more than a third (to 1,9 thousand tons).
The sharpest decline in volumes occurred in Kamchatka, the main fishing region of the Far East. About 190 thousand tons of salmon were caught near the peninsula, which is 60% less than in the previous even fishing season. The fishery has increased only in Primorye - by almost 5%, but little salmon is always caught there: in the current fishing season, a little more than one thousand tons.
“Speaking about the situation this year, all fishermen note the main problem - the situation with an unjustified forecast of salmon approaches on the eastern coast of Kamchatka. The enterprises were counting on big fishing, but in the end they faced very insignificant approaches, ”said the Acting Minister of Fisheries of the Kamchatka Territory Andrey Zdevetsky.
In 2020, from the very beginning, a decrease in the number of approaches of Pacific salmon was expected, the All-Russian Research Institute of Fisheries and Oceanography (VNIRO) specified, but the real level of their production turned out to be 23% or almost 100 thousand tons below the initial forecast estimate.
“The undershoot of pink salmon in the Magadan region, pink and chum salmon in Chukotka and the Southern Kuriles, as well as all types of Pacific salmon in the east of Kamchatka cannot be explained either by the miscalculations of industry science, or by the peculiarities of regulation and fishing,” emphasizes the head of the department of anadromous fish of Russia at the Federal State Budgetary Scientific Institution “ VNIRO ”Sergey Marchenko.
According to industrial science studies, the main reason for the discrepancy between the actual catch and the forecast expectations was the serious changes in the ecosystem of the North Pacific in January-May 2020. A large-scale climatic shift has resulted in a decline in the production of Pacific salmon not only in the Russian Far East, but also in the USA, Canada and Japan.
Aleksey Baytalyuk, head of the Pacific branch of the VNIRO Federal State Budgetary Scientific Institution, clarifies that, in contrast to the 2019-2020 season, wintering conditions in 2017-2018 were so favorable that the high survival rate of salmon led to an increase in the number of approaches, adjustments in the volume of removals and a record catch.
“A period of uncertainty in the level and assessment of salmon stocks may lie ahead of us, until we gain new experience and can predict the response and degree of impact of these factors on the survival of salmon. In the short term, we should take seriously the expectation of a decrease in the approaches of long-lived salmon species in the next two years, ”the expert warns.
“The losses incurred by fishery enterprises in the 2020 fishing season in the east of Kamchatka are colossal. Among other things, the fishermen carried an additional burden in the implementation of measures to combat the coronavirus - something that no one expected. These costs amounted to more than one billion rubles, "said Vladimir Galitsyn, chairman of the Kamchatka Salmon Hunters Association, EastRussia.
To assess the state of the Pacific salmon stocks, the Federal Agency for Fishery intends to increase funding for research work. On behalf of the head of the department, a target program for the development and conduct of scientific research of Pacific salmon until 2026 in the interests of the country's fishery complex will be developed.
According to the press service of the Federal Agency for Fishery, next year it is planned to restore surveys in the Bering Sea (part of the surveys that were carried out in eastern Kamchatka stopped in 2015), to introduce a new element of accounting for salmon off the Kuril Islands.
Accounting work is also being intensified in other fishing zones. In addition, the formation of a unified strategy for aerovisual and acoustic studies of the number of spawning Pacific salmon spawners will be completed. The obtained materials will allow to promptly form scientifically grounded recommendations on the organization and conduct of fishing, to introduce restrictions on fishing in accordance with federal legislation.
“As they say, there would be no happiness but misfortune helped. I am glad that the issue of assessing the approaches of the Pacific salmon has received attention. On the east coast of Kamchatka, the fishing season was very different from the forecast data. This happened due to the fact that science was not able to assess all the consequences of the problematic feeding of salmon in the North Pacific in the winter of 2019-2020, - says Vladimir Galitsyn. - It was unexpected, uncharacteristic, because we are used to good results in previous years. But nature intervened. "
The decline in red fish fishing has affected transport organizations as well.
“We did not receive the volume that the fishermen planned to take, and we didn’t get it,” says Andrey Lyashenko, deputy general director for commercial work of DV Port LLC. - But the pandemic also had its effect. During the year, catering establishments, kindergartens, educational institutions were closed for several months, that is, those who can consume inexpensive white fish: pollock, cod, navaga. And the volume of this fish products before salmon fishing, as was shipped last year, was not shipped. Therefore, we approached the salmon fishery with clogged refrigerators. If the red fishing season took place, it would be difficult for us to process all these volumes. "
According to the manager, the overstocking of storage facilities was also affected by restrictions on the operation of Chinese ports due to the coronavirus. Part of the catch that Far Eastern fishermen traditionally sent to China before the pandemic went to the Russian coast due to quarantine measures in Chinese ports, which led to an even greater load on local refrigerators.
During the period of the spread of coronavirus infection, demand fell, prices for fish products dropped, which affected the financial plans of fishermen, said Vladimir Kotov, General Director of Kamchattralflot LLC. Certain state support, he says, is received by the fishing enterprises participating in the program "Development of the fishing complex of the Kamchatka Territory." It involves subsidizing 2/3 of the interest rate on loans for the implementation of investment projects on the territory of the peninsula.
At the same time, it is not yet known how the situation with the export of fish through the ports of the PRC will develop in the future. In the fall, the State Customs Administration of China tightened requirements for exporters of seafood to ensure that the pathogen of the coronavirus is not allowed in products and on their packaging. This complicated the procedures for the supply of Russian fish. In early December, Rosselkhoznadzor held negotiations with the participation of the National Center for the Safety of Aquatic and Aquaculture Products (NCBSP) with the Customs Administration of the PRC. Representatives of the Chinese side expressed concern about the continuing cases of coronavirus infection in ship crew members and on packaging materials of imported seafood.
As one of the prerequisites for exporters to comply with the requirements to prevent the spread of coronavirus by China, the need was expressed by the Russian competent authority to recheck all fish processing enterprises and vessels supplying their products to the Celestial Empire for the unimpeded supply of fish to the PRC market.