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Russia to revive good old fashioned fishmongers
Dmitry Medvedev urges Russia to revive fish trading system that was once popular in the Soviet times. Murmansk will install a specialized fishery market by end of 2012. More cities will follow with the initiative.
To the pleasure of fishing companies and diet experts, fish consumption in Russia is on the rise. Considering annual average per capita, a Russian person ate 22 kg of fish in 2011 versus 19.7b kg in 2009, reported Russian Statistics Agency; calculations of the Fishery Ministry are more optimistic – 25 kg per person in 2011.
Prompted by a new state-run programme blessed by Medvedev for fishery development, Murmansk is opening a fish market by end of 2012 to meet expectations of federal decision-makers. The move has been coordinated with the Fishery Minister:
- One way to support fishery industry in Russia is to create an alternative retail system, like the Okean chain of stores that existed in the USSR, Andrey Krainy suggested.
According to Krainy, markets should not be state-owned, but privately-owned, while “business needs help and this is up to the governors and mayors of major cities”, he said.
The Murmansk market will be owned by an investor from St.Petersburg. New 150 sq.m. trading premises will be opened within the existing Leninsky district market. Negotiations with fish suppliers are underway.
On the larger scale, fishery has become an urgent discussion issue on different levels. In early September, the Murmansk governor Marina Kovtun took her chance to discuss fishery problems with the Kremlin and come up with the statement: “We have always been the country’s fishing capital, and we would like to retain this title in the future.” Agricultural Minister Nikolay Fedorov attempted to sum up the situation:
- The weakest link in our system is the national fish processing sector, including the Russian fishing companies’ financial and economic dependence on foreign firms, in particular fish processing enterprises, he said at the meeting presided by Dmitry Medvedev.
With his eyes turned to the Norwegian town of Kirkenes, Andrey Krainy continued with the topic:
- There is another problem linked with the renovation of the fishing fleet. […] We have about 80 revamped or foreign-made vessels, which don’t call at Russian ports. Their owners have to pay 5% duties and 18% value-added tax, while entering Russian ports. But Russian fishermen operate in the national exclusive economic zone and outside that zone in line with the specifics of the fishing sector. As a result, these vessels sail for Norway, rather than Murmansk, and enter Kirkenes, a former village that has now turned into a city and a major seaport. While in Kirkenes, the vessels receive fuel, and their crews are rotated. […]Moreover, a ship-repair enterprise is continuing to develop there.
Krainy urges the Russian Government to declare a “customs amnesty” for vessels that were built or modernized before January 01, 2013 so that they could enter Russian ports and be registered there. He believes, the move will “enable us to expand our seaport infrastructure and to receive surplus catches”.
Share of fish produced in Russia reached 78% on the domestic market in 2011, Krainy said earlier. But “the doctrine of production security is telling us to go for 80% by 2020”.