Global Fishery Forum & Seafood Expo Russia
September, 17-19, 2024, Saint Petersburg
Russia Counting on Investment and Technological Sovereignty

Head of Federal Agency for Fisheries Ilya Shestakov, the moderator of the plenary session at the Global Fishery Forum & Seafood Expo Russia 2022, read out a welcome address to the participants from Russian Federation Council Chairwoman Valentina Matviyenko and stressed that the primary goal of the Forum is to provide a meaningful, multilateral approach to the integrated development of the fisheries industry, taking into account different economic, social, environmental, and scientific aspects.

“Today, we will discuss the latest trends in the global fisheries industry and new focuses in the renovation of fixed production assets. Of course, we will also talk about changing supply chains, new sales markets, new sales technologies, the financial condition of the industry, and new financial instruments,” Shestakov said. 

The ongoing changes in the global economy, the geographical segmentation of the market, and the extension of supply chains affect the pricing and availability of fish. In addition to new challenges, the importance of environmental management continues to grow, as Russia adheres to the principles of sustainable fishing, while focusing on scientific data, actively promoting the sustainable use of aquatic biological resources, introducing innovations in shipbuilding and fish processing, and also combatting IUU fishing.

In his welcome address, Russian Minister of Agriculture Dmitry Patrushev pointed out the scale of the Forum this year (more than 10,000 participants from 40 countries), as well as its importance for strengthening cooperation and making optimal decisions on measures to regulate and support the industry. “In 2022, RUB 12.5 billion were allocated for the development of the fisheries industry. Much attention is being paid to [fishing] industry science, and two new research institutes have already been established in Russia. Rail transportation of pollock from the Far East is also being subsidized, and support measures are being provided to fishermen in the Sea of ​​Azov,” Patrushev noted.

“Thanks to systematic state support, the fisheries industry continues to actively boost its output. Over 5 million tonnes of fish were caught in 2021, and more than 350,000 tonnes of products were produced in the aquaculture sector. Fishing industry enterprises increased turnover by 16% to RUB 808 billion in 2021 and profit by 70% to around RUB 196 billion. Preliminary estimates for the first half of 2022 indicate that this year’s results will be just as good as last year’s,” Patrushev said. 

“There is no doubt that in 2022 we will fully saturate the domestic market, and we will also be able to further develop our export potential. I would like to point out that, despite the pressure from sanctions and the unfriendly actions of individual states, Russia continues to trade fish products abroad. Last year, fish products were supplied to 58 countries, and today we are already up to 60. Total exports over the first seven months of 2022 exceeded 1.1 million tonnes in physical terms, which is almost a quarter more than [the same period of last year]. Thus, our country has once again confirmed its responsible approach to its obligations to foreign partners and expects a mutually equal dialogue,” Patrushev said.

Investment in fisheries has increased significantly, primarily due to the investment quota programme. Total investments amount to RUB 300 billion. Ten new vessels were delivered to customers and 21 new plants were put into operation. 

The new realities pose new challenges in terms of further ensuring the availability of products for the public. Above all else, it is crucial to increase the import substitution of equipment for the fleet and components for the development of aquaculture. In particular, the Russian government has already adopted a resolution to reimburse 20% of direct capital costs on the construction and modernization of feed plants. In addition, a road map has been prepared to provide the industry with advanced recipes and will start being implemented this year. The Ministry of Agriculture reports that nine new specialized fish feed production plants with capacity of more than 220,000 tonnes per year will be commissioned in Russia over the next five years. The goal has been set that domestically produced feed will cover all the demands of fish farmers for this product by 2030.

Logistics issues, reconfiguring transport chains, and developing alternative delivery channels, such as the Northern Sea Route, will also remain a top priority. The inability to order equipment from countries that support anti-Russian sanctions has complicated the work of shipyards in terms of building ships under the investment quota programme, although it has spurred the work of Russian engineering companies and manufacturers.

The Russian government has allocated RUB 7 billion in 2022 to create ship equipment projects. Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade and State Secretary Viktor Yevtukhov noted it would be advisable to work towards ensuring Russia’s technological sovereignty in the production of fish processing and ship equipment, although he said it’s clear that 100% sovereignty is virtually impossible, thus significant state subsidies are needed for production and cooperation needs to be continued with friendly partners, including China. Ship designs should be unified as much as possible to reduce the risk of longer construction time. Feasibility studies that are mandatory for signing contracts will be a significant innovation, and work is currently underway to consolidate such studies at the legislative level. He also called on all parties involved in shipbuilding to have mutual understanding and cooperate in the current conditions.

Kamchatka Territory Governor Vladimir Solodov said the industry has produced a greater economic return to the development of his region and that local fish processing enterprises are implementing several projects as part of the investment quota programme. At present, seven of the eight projected plants have already been built in Kamchatka and thousands of jobs have been created. In addition, major fishing clusters are being built in the region and are already engaged in the waste-free processing of aquatic biological resources. Emphasizing the economic importance of investment quotas, he suggested taking into account such aspects as the biological features of each biological resource and their cost during the second stage of the programme’s implementation. In addition, he called for preserving small and medium-sized businesses, which occupy their own niche.

Shestakov suggested that regional leaders should pay greater attention to the feasibility of creating mechanisms to attract and consolidate large companies in their regions, including transregional companies.

Director of the FAO Office for Relations with Russia Oleg Kobyakov presented a report from the World Food Organization on the results of 2020. The catch and production of aquatic biological resources reached 214 million tonnes in 2020, while the proportion of aquaculture and industrial fishing is gradually changing. Overall, the fishing industry managed to overcome the problems of the pandemic and continues to develop technologically. Fish consumption is also on the rise and, according to FAO experts, will grow to 25.5 kg per capita by 2025, as long as sustainable fishing is maintained, aquaculture is developed, and logistics are improved. The Russian fisheries industry continues to play an important role in achieving these goals and indicators.

Representatives of the management of Sberbank and Rosselkhozbank spoke about measures to support the fisheries industry in the current conditions as well as their readiness to participate in the second stage of investment quotas. The meeting participants also discussed the possibility of resolving logistics and sales issues with some of the country’s largest trading platforms.