Russia Plans to Seize Fishing Quotas from Producers Who Build Trawlers With Foreign Capital
Russia's federal fisheries agency plans to start more active seizures of fishing quotas from harvesters who rely on foreign capital to build vessels. The seizures are part of a plan is to encourage fishermen to build fishing trawlers at local shipyards, according to a spokesman at Rosrybolovstvo. Initially, the goal will be to distribute about 20% of the total volume of fishing quotas to local producers that use domestic shipyards. Ultimately, Russia wants as much as 35 percent of quotas distributed to producers that use domestic shipbuilders. In more Russian fishery news, Japan's Hokkaido Federation of Fishermen say Russia's catch of pollock with roe from the Sea of Okhotsk is down about 7 percent during the A season. The federation says that the pace of production slowed from last year around late February, and showed no signs of recovery in the first week of March.
Reports in China suggest customs officials are cracking down on illegal shrimp and lobster shipments imported through Vietnam. Reports suggest buyers in China are pushing for illegal seafood smuggling to avoid high tariffs. It is beleived that the illegal trade will continue for a couple more years until a free trade agreement between China and Australia goes into effect in 2019. That agreement will eliminate rates on Australian seafood shipped to the Chinese market over the course of four years.
In other news, Maine seafood distributor Bristol Seafood has earned Fair Trade Certification for its line of North Atlantic Sea Scallops. This is the first domestically harvested seafood item in the US market to earn recognition from the Fair Trade program. “We are very proud to be the first to introduce Fair Trade Certified seafood harvested in the United States,” said Peter Handy, President and CEO of Bristol Seafood. “All of our products are based on integrity and sustainable practices, and Fair Trade certification gives our customers third-party validation that we operate in a socially responsible manner as well.”
Meanwhile, commercial salmon fishermen in Oregon and California are once again looking at no significant summer season this year -- a repeat of similar conditions in the late 2000s. The Pacific Fishery Management Council this week announced sport and commercial salmon fishing seasons that would go out for public review between now and its April 6-11 meeting. The Council will choose the final fishing seasons in April for submittal to the National Marine Fisheries Service's approval and implementation by May 1.
Finally, a new bill is being proposed by Alaska lawmakers that would require captains collect an as yet undefined amount of each crew’s wages and remit it to the state Department of Revenue. The United Fishermen of Alaska (UFA) opposes the proposal. “We don’t want to be tax collectors, we just want to be able to send a 1099 to the state and then they collect from the crews. We have no idea what their taxes are and I think they are going to make more work for themselves," said UFA's president Jerry McCune.
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