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25 Aug, 2010 07:59

Putin pledges to open domestic market access to the nation's fishermen

With seafood production experiencing 12 % growth in the last three years, Putin stressed the importance of the further government financing of the fish sector during his visit to Kamchatka.

The Far East regions account for over 20 per cent of fish caught in Russia. The ocean is rich with salmon, steelhead, trout and char, however, problems with infrastructure and tough regulations result in the catch being sold abroad to the nearest Asian markets

There is not only a lack of infrastructure, but also the tariffs imposed on seafood caught in Russian waters are high and the regulations on which fish can be caught are stringent. For the fishermen, it often makes sense to land the catch in a foreign port, Vasily Maksimov, a fisherman, reported during a meeting with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin during a visit to Kamchatka.

“We have to pass a very difficult veterinary control. The controlling agencies impose strict requirements, which mean we need to spend a lot of money. And sometimes it’s even easier and cheaper for us to supply fish abroad than to the domestic market.” Said Maksimov

Vladimir Putin hailed the 10% increase of the catch by the nation’s fishermen on the previous year, pointing out that so far there are several steps to be made for appreciable growth of the domestic supply.

“As we all realize, a good catch is just the beginning. It’s followed by processing, transportation and sale. Most important is for us to grow the share of domestic goods in our market. In 2009, the share of Russian fish consumed in Russia was 72.4 per cent. By 2014, it should grow to at least 80.5 per cent. We’ve decided to extend the financing program for the industry by one year – till 2014. That’s around 32 billion rubles’ investment in the sector.” noted Putin

The crucial problem and an up-to-date target is to provide the sector with a rational, sound legal basis and to expand transportation networks to ease and cut expenses of long-distance delivery from the Far East to Russia’s biggest population centers.