Lifting minimum allowable harvest quotas could lead to increased poaching
In the end of last week press and media announced that the heads of fisheries enterprises and associations of the Far Eastern, Western and Northern fishing basins consider it inappropriate that minimum harvesting quotas are set per every fishing boat and suggest that quotas are lifted. WWF strongly opposes such proposal. This position is based on assessment results that were presented in WWF Report on Economic Efficiency of the Fishing Fleet.
«Annual minimum harvesting quotas that are set for every fishing boat worked mainly as regulators for the number of boats in the sea; reality is such that there are thrice more fishing vessels than fish in the sea, - says Stanislav Fomin, Marine Projects Coordinator of WWF Russia Barents Sea branch. - Those companies that do not have enough quotas have either to look for additional quotas or to keep their fishing boats at the pier. If this regulatory mechanism is lifted all the fishing boats will be able to leave the pier and yet another opportunity will emerge for the dishonest fishermen».
«This will turn into a kind of legal permit for poaching, - stresses Konstantin Zgurovsky , Head of WWF Russia Marine Programme. - Without the minimum harvesting limits set per fishing vessel there might be a situation that for example a boat that gets 100 tons quota will harvest 1000 tons and even more. We are calling upon Mr. Andrei Krainy, the Head of Agency for Fisheries of the Russian Federation, to improve existing regulations instead of complete cancelling».
Lifting minimum harvest quotas will also come in contradiction to the «Concept of Fisheries Industry Development in the Russian Federation for the period until 2020» that lists among the main objectives also the need to “secure wise use of aquatic biological resources taking into account relevant harvesting impacts on these resources”. Minimum quotas per fishing vessels are among such important barriers against poaching that by no means should not be cancelled.