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Coastally carelessly

Regulators and sectoral specialists disagree on the assessment of the adopted amendments to the law on fisheries

Coastally carelessly
Discussions about amendments to the federal law "On fishing and conservation of aquatic biological resources", adopted at the spring session of the parliament and already signed by the president, are not abating. At a recent press conference, the head of the Federal Agency for Fishery, Ilya Shestakov, tried to convince journalists that all the threats noted by fishermen are mostly far-fetched.

Recall that the document developed by the Federal Agency for Fishery and the Ministry of Agriculture of Russia in pursuance of the instructions of the Presidium of the State Council on the development of the fishery complex, which took place in October 2015 under the chairmanship of Russian President Vladimir Putin, provides for changes in the distribution of quotas for catching fish and other aquatic biological resources. The bill, in particular, provides for an increase in the period of fixing quotas for fishing on the basis of the "historical principle" to 15 years from the current 10 years (in 2008, the quotas were fixed for 10 years), the allocation of 20% of quotas for investment purposes, an increase in the development threshold aquatic biological resources for two consecutive years from 50% to 70% of the allocated quotas.

It is expected that an increase in the degree of necessary development of allocated quotas, provided that at least 70% of them are harvested on their own vessels, will lead to both an increase in catch volumes and the elimination of so-called quota rentiers - ineffective users who do not have their own fleet. In addition, the amendments imply the allocation of up to 20% of quotas for the extraction of aquatic biological resources for investment purposes: for the purchase of new fishing vessels built at Russian shipyards, and the construction of facilities for processing aquatic biological resources.

In order to eliminate unnecessary administrative barriers, the draft law envisages the introduction of a single fishing space and the conclusion of a single agreement on fixing the shares of the production quota permitting industrial and coastal fishing. Fishermen will be able to independently choose for themselves the conditions of fishing - coastal or industrial fishing. It is planned to provide an economic stimulus for the development of coastal fishing and coastal processing. In particular, with the allocation of quotas for coastal fishing, an incremental coefficient of 1,2 will be applied, and the catch of coastal fishery will be delivered to the territory of Russia in live or chilled form.

To date, the main discussion on the law has flared up around the fact that it, in fact, removes the line between industrial and coastal fishing and introduces the concept of a single fishing space. And also around the fact that the law restricts the delivery of frozen coastal fish to the shore. This approach may create significant difficulties for small and medium-sized businesses operating in the fishery industry. Such claims to the law are put forward not only by the fishermen themselves, but also by the expert community and the authorities of some regions.

According to the head of the Federal Agency for Fisheries Ilya Shestakov, "It should be clearly understood that what is now called coastal fishing in fact as such is not. The only difference between industrial and coastal fishing now is only that within the first one the company must deliver its products to the port, then decorate it and deliver it to the consumer, and within the second - deliver it to the port, for some time unload , Then load back and then in the same way someone put it. "

The head of the Federal Agency for Fishery believes that at present, under the guise of coastal fishing, the same industrial fishing is carried out. But at the same time, the "coastal" companies have no additional obligations. Moreover, in recent years they have been provided with a number of opportunities - for example, freezing fish, processing it on ships, allowed them to go beyond the 12-mil zone. And quotas at the same time between industrial and coastal fishermen are divided artificially - on the basis of some historical principle, the meaning of which is completely incomprehensible. And, which already seems completely irrational, the volume of distributed quotas is subject to constant changes - it can change annually depending on a particular decision of scientific institutions, while fishermen carry out their work in a unified way, thereby making possible the emergence of large corruption risks, - said Ilya Shestakov.

In turn, the innovation envisaged by the amendments to the Federal Law "On Fisheries and the Conservation of Aquatic Biological Resources", which introduces the concept of a single fishing space and recognizes within it all companies that are now industrial and coastal, industrial, according to him, on in fact, it will only have a beneficial effect on modern small and medium-sized businesses. Since all those fishing companies that, thanks to the amendments to the law, will be recognized as industrial, will for the most part be nothing more than small enterprises with small vessels. That is, this innovation is not something that is not a threat, but, on the contrary, a measure of support for small and medium-sized businesses in the amount of allocating 20% ​​of catch quotas.

"The same companies that are now engaged in so-called" coastal "fisheries, and precisely what is just called, as a result of the introduced amendments will simply acquire the relying status of industrial. As for the delivery of coastal frozen fish, we do not impose any ban on it. We are only create an incentive for the delivery of coastal fish in fresh and chilled, "- said Ilya Shestakov.

But despite such a description of the current state of affairs in Russian fisheries and statements about the positive consequences of the introduction of amendments to the Federal Law "On Fisheries and the Conservation of Aquatic Biological Resources", the fishing companies still stand their ground.

"The decision of the VARPE - not to support this set of amendments - was taken unanimously by the general meeting of its members, - the president of the All-Russian Association of Fisheries Enterprises told EastRussia Alexander Fomin. “At the same time, our association, like all other industry associations, was fundamentally opposed to the proposed selection of quotas from bona fide users, which could be 40%, of which 20% is for investment quotas, and 20% is for stimulating coastal fishing."

According to Alexander Fomin, the association also opposed a single fishing area and a single contract for industrial and coastal fishing, and in this case "this position coincided with the opinion of the majority of leaders of coastal Russian regions."

"Unfortunately, we have not been able to fully defend these positions," the president of the WWARP said. - Nevertheless, we still achieved that investment quotas can be obtained only for the constructed investment object. At present, domestic shipyards are loaded with government orders for construction of ships under the outfit, and in this connection mass construction of fishing vessels is possible only through 2-3. Another 2-3 year will be required to build ships, total 5-6 years, which fishermen win - during which they can safely work on their quotas. With regard to coastal fisheries, the enacted law provides that incentives with an 1,2 ratio are applied to enterprises that supply fresh and cooled fish to the shore. Here it is also obvious for us, as a result of this measure, most of the companies will refuse to implement coastal fishing and will go into the industrial one, so that the volumes of coastal fishing will decrease by several times. "

At the same time, the expert noted that positive aspects are also characteristic of the introduced set of amendments. For example, in his opinion, such is the increase in the term for securing a share of the production quota for the user to 15 years. True, as Alexander Fomin told EastRussia correspondent, initially, when developing amendments from the VARPE, there was a proposal to increase this period to 25 years. As examples of other positive aspects of the set of amendments, he cited the envisaged imputation of the obligation for enterprises to select more than 70% of the allocated quotas and catch 70% of the quota on their own or chartered vessels within two years.

"Recognition of all fishing companies as leading industrial fishing seems appropriate, since this means that all of them will be presented with the same working conditions. And the fact that today both the so-called coastal fishermen and industrial fishermen should be equal before the law is beyond doubt , - commented on the EastRussia correspondent on the innovations provided for by the new amendments, Associate Professor of the Department of Economic and Social Geography of Russia, M.V. Lomonosov Moscow State University Alexander Danshin... - The stimulation of the delivery of coastal fish, provided for by the new set of amendments, seems less straightforward - only the need to deliver coastal fish to the shore should be legally stimulated, but not the type of delivery to the shore. It should be stimulated only by the law of the market and nothing more. As for the fact that the state decided to increase the period of securing a share of the harvest quota for the user to 15 years, and not to 25 years, it still seems to be a significant measure of support for fishing companies, since as a result of it the volume of their catch anyway will increase. The obligations imposed by the amendments to develop more than 70% of the allocated quotas within two years, and to catch 70% on their own or chartered vessels is undoubtedly a good step on the part of the state, but at the moment it is impossible to ensure such indicators by Russian fishing companies. In the future, it is possible, but only with appropriate efforts on the part of companies and additional support from the state ”. 

For its part, the co-developer of the code of amendments - the Ministry of Eastern Development - as a whole positively assesses both the law and its prospects, but rather calmly - soberly assessing the current state of affairs in shipbuilding and fish processing, it was responsible for developing the mechanism of investment quotas.

"Yes, one should not hide the fact that at present in Russia there is generally no experience in the construction of fishing vessels, and the existing shipyards are very heavily loaded with orders," the director of the Department for ensuring the implementation of investment projects of the Ministry for the Development of the Far East informed EastRussia Alexander Krutikov. - But, according to the information provided to the agency by the management of the United Shipbuilding Corporation, there are some free capacities for building fishing vessels at Russian shipyards. Their construction is a complex and slow process. The creation of a ship at the shipyard takes at least 2 years. But when developing the mechanism of investment quotas, the ministry was well aware that the process of creating the Russian fishing fleet would require full state support, including participation in risk insurance. "

“As for the implementation of the law as a whole, its effectiveness is possible due to the fact that the law is transparent in the full sense of the word. That is, it ensures the transparency of many procedures in the fishing industry,” said Alexander Krutikov.

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