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Russia’s fishing fleet gears up for success

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Already the fourth largest global exporter of seafood by volume, Russia plans to nearly double its total seafood exports by 2024. To achieve this, Russian fishing operators have unveiled plans to encourage greater investment in the industry, seeking to accelerate the roll-out of state-of-the-art vessels, modern seafood processing plants, and improved railways.

‘There has been around $5 billion invested in the Russian fish industry,’ said Petr Savchuk, deputy head of

Already the fourth largest global exporter of seafood by volume, Russia plans to nearly double its total seafood exports by 2024. To achieve this, Russian fishing operators have unveiled plans to encourage greater investment in the industry, seeking to accelerate the roll-out of state-of-the-art vessels, modern seafood processing plants, and improved railways.

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‘There has been around $5bn invested in the Russian fish industry,’ said Petr Savchuk, deputy head of Rosrybolovstovo, the Russian Federal Agency for Fishing. ‘But this is just the beginning’.

In 2018, Russia started the construction of 35 new fishing trawlers and 20 new seafood processing plants, centred primarily around the country’s largest fishing ports on the Far East seaboard. In addition, Rosrybolovstovo set a target of building at least 100 new vessels by 2025, a 50% increase in the fleet’s overall capacity. However, since then, investment has begun to soar. In particular, Russia has unveiled plans to build railway hubs across the country, helping to speed up the movement of raw goods from the major fishing ports in Kamchatka to Russia’s Atlantic side, including its primary fishing export hub in Murmansk.

On 12 April this year, FESCO Transportation Group began transporting containerised fish along the Trans-Siberian route, with products travelling at speed from Vladivostok to St. Petersburg. From there, the shipment was shipped across to Bremerhaven in Northern Germany. According to FESCO, this new route is twice as fast as transporting products via Suez and it shows that Russian firms are upgrading their logistics with great success.

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To reduce congestion, Russian authorities have also begun opening several more fishing export hubs throughout the country. As Savchuk explains: ‘[hubs are] being developed, for example in Yekaterinburg, Novosibirsk, Rostov-on-Don and other big cities in Russia where big cold-store facilities are being built.’

One company making an outsize contribution, both in the Far East and in the cod fisheries of the North Atlantic, is Norebo. Investing $45m in a new shipping terminal in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Norebo looks to create an end-to-end service for fishing vessels in Russia. The terminal will allow vessels to store their fish in refrigerating containers in the Far East before shipping them to western Russia, the US, and Europe.

Following the implementation of its fleet renewal programme in 2017, Norebo will soon have some of the most modern vessels operating not just in Russia but in the world. Radicalising how Russia’s fishing industry operates, Norebo’s new state-of-the-art vessels are set to increase energy efficiency, decrease waste, and create more comfortable working conditions for crews.

‘A modern fleet is a requirement of our times. Only new vessels with high-tech equipment can offer optimal catch processing, as well as high standards of safety and comfort for the crew,’ said a Norebo spokesperson.

It appears Norebo strives to achieve this and more with its latest fleet of vessels under construction.

Indeed, one of the group’s vessels, named Captain Korotich, incorporates architectural design elements never used before on a Russian fishing vessel. The hull is capsule shaped with an Enduro Bow line, which allows for increased working space on board and improved seaworthiness. It also has an incredibly powerful engine (6200kW), which enables the vessel to reach speeds of up to 15.5 knots and operate in ice up to 0.5m thick, while using less fuel than other comparable engines.

Designed with energy efficiency in mind, the vessel will also use electricity generated by the trawl winches for lighting and repurpose the excess heat from the main engine to heat the ship’s rooms, including the cabins. Ingeniously, on Pacific vessels such as Captain Korotich, fish oil collected during waste processing is even put towards powering the boiler. These innovations reduce carbon emissions and eliminate unnecessary waste, all of which contributes to the excellent sustainability of the end product.

The company’s newest longline vessels will also be equipped with modern multi-functional factories that allow for advanced catch processing directly on board. This means that the time between catching the premium quality fish and creating the final product, ready for cooking, is shortened dramatically, with processing waste also reduced to almost zero. Norebo has found the provision of onboard factories has even improved the final product that reaches kitchens, as processing the fish immediately after it is caught helps to preserve its freshness, taste and nutrients.

Five years has passed since Norebo first announced its fleet renewal programme. Since then, the company has revealed plans to build ten state-of-the-art vessels, with more still to come. But every time a new keel is laid, it feels like the first time all over again. As Norebo founder Vitaly Orlov reflected at the unveiling of the first vessel in 2018: ‘Although Norebo’s current fishing fleet is up to date, the time to renew is coming. Today is a very emotional moment when we lay the keel of the first vessel. I hope that this event today will give a positive signal to the shipbuilding industry that Russia intends to build vessels that are as good as, or even better, than [from] shipyards anywhere in the world.’

With Norebo leading the way, Russia’s fishing fleet already competes with the leading fishing nations of the world in terms of consistency, quality of product and commitments to sustainable practices. Considering the future investment plans already announced, Russia is well on its way to meet the target of nearly doubling exports by 2024, confirming its status as a world leader, ranking alongside the legendary fishing fleets of old.

In 2018, Russia started the construction of 35 new fishing trawlers and 20 new seafood processing plants, centred primarily around the country’s largest fishing ports on the Far East seaboard. In addition, Rosrybolovstovo set a target of building at least 100 new vessels by 2025, a 50% increase in the fleet’s overall capacity. However, since then, investment has begun to soar. In particular, Russia has unveiled plans to build railway hubs across the country, helping to speed up the movement of raw goods from the major fishing ports in Kamchatka to Russia’s Atlantic side, including its primary fishing export hub in Murmansk.

On the 12th of April this year, FESCO Transportation Group began transporting containerized fish along the Trans-Siberian route, with products travelling at speed from Vladivostok to St. Petersburg. From there, the shipment was shipped across to Bremerhaven in Northern Germany. According to FESCO, this new route is twice as fast as transporting products via Suez and it shows that Russian firms are upgrading their logistics with great success.

To reduce congestion, Russian authorities have also begun opening several more fishing export hubs throughout the country. As Savchuk explains: ‘[hubs are] being developed, for example in Yekaterinburg, Novosibirsk, Rostov-on-Don and other big cities in Russia where big cold-store facilities are being built.’

One company making an outsize contribution, both in the Far East and in the cod fisheries of the North Atlantic, is Norebo. Investing $45m in a new shipping terminal in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Norebo looks to create an end-to-end service for fishing vessels in Russia. The terminal will allow vessels to store their fish in refrigerating containers in the Far East before shipping them to western Russia, the US, and Europe.

Following the implementation of its fleet renewal programme in 2017, Norebo will soon have some of the most modern vessels operating not just in Russia but in the world. Radicalising how Russia’s fishing industry operates, Norebo’s new state-of-the-art vessels are set to increase energy efficiency, decrease waste, and create more comfortable working conditions for crews.

‘A modern fleet is a requirement of our times. Only new vessels with high-tech equipment can offer optimal catch processing, as well as high standards of safety and comfort for the crew,’ said a Norebo spokesperson.

It appears Norebo strives to achieve this and more with its latest fleet of vessels under construction.

Indeed, one of the group’s vessels, named Captain Korotich, incorporates architectural design elements never used before on a Russian fishing vessel. The hull is capsule shaped with an Enduro Bow line, which allows for increased working space on board and improved seaworthiness. It also has an incredibly powerful engine (6200kW), which enables the vessel to reach speeds of up to 15.5 knots and operate in ice up to 0.5m thick, while using less fuel than other comparable engines.

Designed with energy efficiency in mind, the vessel will also use electricity generated by the trawl winches for lighting and repurpose the excess heat from the main engine to heat the ship’s rooms, including the cabins. Ingeniously, on Pacific vessels such as Captain Korotich, fish oil collected during waste processing is even put towards powering the boiler. These innovations reduce carbon emissions and eliminate unnecessary waste, all of which contributes to the excellent sustainability of the end product.

The company’s newest longline vessels will also be equipped with modern multi-functional factories that allow for advanced catch processing directly on board. This means that the time between catching the premium quality fish and creating the final product, ready for cooking, is shortened dramatically, with processing waste also reduced to almost zero. Norebo has found the provision of onboard factories has even improved the final product that reaches kitchens, as processing the fish immediately after it is caught helps to preserve its freshness, taste and nutrients.

Five years has passed since Norebo first announced its fleet renewal programme. Since then, the company has revealed plans to build ten state-of-the-art vessels, with more still to come. But every time a new keel is laid, it feels like the first time all over again. As Norebo founder Vitaly Orlov reflected at the unveiling of the first vessel in 2018: ‘Although Norebo’s current fishing fleet is up to date, the time to renew is coming. Today is a very emotional moment when we lay the keel of the first vessel. I hope that this event today will give a positive signal to the shipbuilding industry that Russia intends to build vessels that are as good as, or even better, than [from] shipyards anywhere in the world.’

With Norebo leading the way, Russia’s fishing fleet already competes with the leading fishing nations of the world in terms of consistency, quality of product and commitments to sustainable practices. Considering the future investment plans already announced, Russia is well on its way to meet the target of nearly doubling exports by 2024, confirming its status as a world leader, ranking alongside the legendary fishing fleets of old.

Baltics

Listen to the ocean: EU AGRIFISH fisheries minister demand to end Baltic overfishing

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As EU fisheries ministers arrived for the AGRIFISH Council meeting on 11 October in Luxembourg, they received a musical exhortation from a quartet of classical musicians and an opera singer, calling on them to Listen to the Ocean and the science, by setting fishing limits within scientific advice. Arel Ensemble performed excerpts from String Quartet No. 4 by Bacewicz, String Quartet No. 8 by Shostakovich, String Quartet in E Minor by Czerny, and Movement for String Quartet by Copland, and were joined by mezzo-soprano opera singer Luisa Mauro for Il Tramonto by Respighi outside the European Convention Centre in Luxembourg, where EU fisheries ministers are gathering to set fishing limits for Baltic Sea fish populations for 2022.

Environment Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius attended the performance. “I’m performing this morning because I am sensitive to the future of our planet and music is my way of expression,” said mezzo-soprano opera singer Luisa Mauro.

“I believe it is important to use an ecosystem-based approach to regulate access to marine resources, in order to ensure sustainability, and to prohibit destructive fishing methods”.

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“The Arel Ensemble is proud to play outside the AGRIFISH meeting here in Luxembourg this morning, to promote the need to fight for the planet and a better, sustainable future!” said Bartłomiej Ciastoń, first violin. “With our Polish roots, the musicians of Arel Ensemble are well placed to respond to, and understand the need, to protect the Baltic Sea from overfishing. As musicians, we are taking action to preserve nature and help the marine environment in a way that we do the best and with heart - by playing music.”

“Today, the EU AGRIFISH Council will set fishing limits for Baltic Sea fish populations for 2022. We are running against the clock to stop the collapse of the Baltic Sea ecosystem and deliver on political promises to halt the climate and nature crises”, said Rebecca Hubbard, Our Fish Program Director. “The setting of fishing opportunities at sustainable levels is an essential precondition to deliver on these promises. Baltic Fisheries Ministers must listen to the ocean and the science, by setting fishing limits within scientific advice.”

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Brexit

French minister Beaune: French fishermen must not pay for UK's Brexit failure

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Fishing trawlers are docked at Boulogne-sur-Mer after Britain and the European Union brokered a last-minute post-Brexit trade deal, northern France, December 28, 2020. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

French European Affairs Minister Clement Beaune said today (8 October) that French fishermen must not pay for the failure of Britain's exit from the European Union, writes Dominique Vidalon, Reuters.

"They failed on Brexit. It was a bad choice. Threatening us, threatening our fishermen, will not settle their supply of turkey at Christmas," Beaune told BFM TV.

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"We will hold firm. The Brits need us to sell their products," he added.

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Jean Castex said France was ready to review bilateral cooperation with Britain if London continues to ignore the agreement reached over fishing rights in its post-Brexit trading relationship with the European Union. Read more.

Paris is infuriated by London's refusal to grant what it considers the full number of licenses due to French fishing boats to operate in Britain's territorial waters, and is threatening retaliatory measures.

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French fishermen have also said they could block the northern port of Calais and Channel Tunnel rail link, both major transit points for trade between Britain and continental Europe, if London does not grant more fishing licences in the next 17 days.

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Maritime

UK denies fishing licenses to French boats

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The UK government announces EU under 12m in length vessels that will be licensed to fish in the UK 6-12 nautical mile zone, writes The Rt Hon George Eustice MP.

Almost 1,700 EU vessels licences have now been licensed to fish in UK waters. Of these, 117 licences have been issued for EU vessels to fish in the 6-12 nautical mile zone where supporting evidence of a track record was available.

There are thirty five smaller vessels which did not have supporting evidence where licences have not been issued but where the UK government remains open to further discussion and evidence. The UK is clear on methodology with decisions based on evidence available and in line with the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA).

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The UK government will publish the list of EU under 12m in length vessels that will be licensed to fish in the UK 6-12 nautical mile zone on Wednesday 29 September.

A UK government spokesperson said: "The government has this year issued a large number of licences to EU vessels seeking to fish in our exclusive economic zone (12-200 nautical mile zone) and our territorial sea (6-12 nautical mile zone). Our approach has been reasonable and fully in line with our commitments in the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA).

"As regards the 6-12nm zone, as set out in the TCA, EU vessels must provide evidence of a track record of fishing activity in those waters. We have been considering applications for vessels of under 12 m in length to fish in this zone and, on the basis of the evidence available, we are able to grant licences for 12 of the 47 applications made.

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"We continue to work with the Commission and the French authorities and will consider any further evidence provided to support the remaining licence applications."

France's Europe Minister Clement Beaune said: "We understand and share the frustration of our fishermen. It is not acceptable not to respect an accord that was signed. We've said at all levels, including at the level of the President of the Republic and Mr Johnson, that we cannot cooperate in confidence with the UK on other issues until the Brexit deal is honoured, including fish. I hope we don't get to that point but there is retaliatory action that is possible applying the accords, in the area of commercial area on a certain amount of British products, in the area of energy, there are a number of areas where the British are dependent on us. We have a global agreement, if the British do not respect the agreement on fish we can take measures and we won't hesitate to do so."

Almost 1,700 vessels have already been granted licences to fish in the UK 12-200 nautical mile zone and a further 105 licences were issued for vessels to fish in the 6-12 nautical mile zone where evidence was available to support a track record over the five year reference period.

There were 47 smaller vessels, under 12 metres, where data was less available and where further supporting evidence was requested to support their application to fish in the 6-12 nautical mile zone. Having assessed all available evidence, we have now licensed a further 12 under 12m vessels to fish in the 6-12 nautical mile zone of our territorial sea. The approach we have taken is reasonable and fully in line with the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA).

The Trade and Cooperation Agreement brought in changes to fishing arrangements between the UK and the EU. The UK is required to grant access to vessels which fished in the relevant parts of the UK’s 6-12 nautical mile zone in four out of five years between 2012 and 2016.

The UK requires reasonable evidence to assess applications against the requirements:

  • Positional data showing fishing activity in our territorial waters.
  • Data recording catches of any of the permitted species corresponding to the same date or time period as that positional data.

The UK has left the EU and as an independent coastal state is committed to sustainable fisheries management. Defra continues to work with counterparts in the Commission and with French authorities. We welcome any further evidence from the EU, using our published methodology, to assess other existing licensing applications from EU vessels.

Full licensing criteria will be published on the UK Single Issuing Authority’s website on Wednesday (29th September 2021).

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