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Главная EVERY FIFTH TON OF FISH IN RUSSIA COMES FROM МURMANSK
EVERY FIFTH TON OF FISH IN RUSSIA COMES FROM МURMANSK Печать E-mail

Fish industry complex ranks as the most important one among the main industry branches of the Murmansk region. It comprises 210 fish catching and fish processing enterprises with approximately 13,5 thousand employees. The Day of Fishermen is their professional holiday and they welcomed it with rather good results. 
The following was told us by the deputy chief of the Department for food, fish industry and agriculture of the Murmansk region Vadim Vissarionovich Sokolov.

– The crisis of the 90-s resulted in difficulties for fish industry, which led to a considerable decrease in catch volumes. How do the Murmansk fishermen overcome its consequences?

– On the whole, fish industry of the Murmansk region managed to recover and to take the leading place in Russia during the last years. Our fishermen continue becoming familiar with market methods of management. This way is full of success and failure – and every enterprise has something of its own.

There are still many unsolved problems in fish industry, but they should and will be solved gradually, – tells us Vadim Vissarionovich. – There shouldn’t be any jumps and revolutions here, because fish industry is inert in itself. And it is really so. To catch fish one should repair a ship, buy fishing gear, fuel and everything else that is needed, and only after that one can go to sea and catch fish. And then one needs to process the fish, to bring it here and to sell it. As you can see, money turnover here is very long, and one needs to invest very much first. Everything should be planned beforehand, if not for years, then for months ahead at least. But our fishermen do not give in. They supply fish and create food security of the country, and they make a significant contribution to the tax base of the state. If 2004 they paid 1 Billion 130 Million roubles in taxes, in the year 2005 the sum made 1 Billion. 620

Million roubles already. For the year 2006 they will pay 2 Billion roubles. About 40% of this sum will stay in the Murmansk region. 

Other results cited by Vadim Vissarionovich also impress. Last year increase in production and catch made more than 10% in comparison with the year 2004. 2005 fish industry of the region produced output evaluated as 14 Billion roubles. Before, this figure never surpassed 10 Billion. Last year the total catch in the Murmansk region was 585 thousand tons which is 18,5% of the total catch in Russia, including inner waters. According to this figure, our fishermen are on the second place in Russia. And they are not going to lose this position this year either. The results obtained are already good: they caught 30 thousand tons of fish more than last year. The market is flooded. 10-15 thousand tons of unsold fish are constantly lying in the Мurmansk refrigerators.

– It is already the past when the fishermen had to sell all the fresh fish in Norway, – continued his story Vadim Vissarionovich. – Today this percent is of minor importance. And if fish is sold there, it is mostly frozen or filleted fish and that catch which is not in great demand here, because of a low ability to pay on the part of the population.

– What are those factors due to which it was possible to improve the economic indicators?

– Mostly it is the contribution of big companies, financial situation of which is more or less stable now. First of all, it is the «Consortium Murmansk Trawl Fleet» that secured the basic increase of catch in our region due to its timely thought-over economic policy. The heads of this company coped with the biggest fishermen’s problem of today – the fuel cost. Practically all our ships work on diesel fuel, you know. The price of fuel is nearly twice as expensive as it was before, but fish price rose not so much – it has became only 10% higher during two years. A complete modernization of six large-capacity vessels, usage of heavy oil fuel, particularly, mazut, helped them to decrease fuel expenses. To achieve that, they had to invest much money in the change of engines, fuel equipment, as well as fish factories. This allowed the company to overcome a difficult situation. Those ships that worked with the productivity of 80 tons per a day started showing the productivity of 160 tons. One ship worked for three, the expenses fell. Besides, the Trawl Fleet began working by the shores of Africa actively. Last year more than 100 thousand tons of fish were caught in the far-away regions. At the present moment it is very important because the quotas in the nearest sectors are distributed long ago and the catch won’t increase here.

– What prevents the development of fishery?

– Unfortunately, the today’s economic situation does not allow the fishermen to catch in the far-away regions as the fuel price reaches 40% in the operating costs. Thus their opportunities are rather limited. Not only Russia, but also fishermen in all countries suffer from the rise of world oil prices. But in other countries they reacted to this situation quickly and found the way of compensating the expenses of fishermen. We were the first to raise this question during the visit of Prime Minister Fradkov to Murmansk. But the necessary changes in the budget that will count grants for fishermen, if they take place, it’ll be not earlier than next year. On its part, the Department of food, fish industry and agriculture of the Мurmansk region will give the government their recommendations and present their calculations. We’ll continue to work at this problem.

Unfortunately, Russian economy lives without thinking of future. And this is dangerous. Today the average age of a ship in the Murmansk region is 22 years. But the wear-life for various ships is 15-20 years. Already today we should renew the fleet, build new vessels to hold the level of today. And this is possible only through the participation of the state. And there is no other way out. For now the state does not hear the fishermen. Well, we’ll try to change the legislation in this question.

– Let turn to the theme of fish processing. The enterprises of our region differ from those of other regions in that they have a different costs mechanism. They have to take additional expenses into account, such as Polar bonuses and the regional coefficient, as well as a long heating season. It is more difficult for them to stay alive in the market conditions. There are probably some other problems of fish processors, aren’t there?

– The biggest problem is that big enterprises have fallen apart – into small ones. And being alone means having more difficulties in solving the questions of circulating assets lack and the questions of getting credits. There is a need in an integration of fish processors and fishermen. But neither these nor those have come to this yet. Therefore we try to find other ways of improving their activity. This year the regional budget has given 20 Million of roubles for the compensation of banking credits to fish processing plants because they lack in circulating assets. That means that they can lend money in the bank to use it for purchasing raw material, and 50% of the refinancing rate will be compensated to the bank by the regional budget. This year eight enterprises have used this credit opportunity. 

Murmansk is a special region. To stay alive here, in our transpolar conditions, the enterprises need to choose it properly what products to produce because these products should be competitive not only in the Russian, but also in the foreign market. We’ve got cod and haddock which other regions have not got. There is crab, scallop, algae and other hydrocoles, such as sea-urchin. The latter is not used in food industry properly yet. The heads of the enterprises who understand these market opportunities find correct ways for the development of their production. Those who do not do anything, staying with an always begging hand, will achieve nothing.

– Have the fish processing enterprises of the region achieved any successful results?

– Onshore enterprises have also started developing, there appear new ones, one fish processing plant is being constructed in the port, the other one will be built near Lavna. In the year 2005 the growth of fish products output increased considerably. Whereas 2004 onshore enterprises produced 29,5 thousand tons of finished products, the year 2005 showed 35,9 thousand tons. That became possible because two years before we’d got an off-shore fishing quota which is ten times higher than the previous one. Whereas before the cod quota was not more than 1,5 thousand tons, nowadays it surpasses 10 thousand tons, and together with haddock it is equal to 12 thousand. It is brought here, to Murmansk, and here it should be processed.

 – What would you wish our fishermen?

– First, an excellent catch. By the way, fish is being caught well now. The Murmansk fishermen catch cod, haddock, perch – 1600-2500 tons a day – in various sectors of the World Ocean. The average daily catch makes 2 thousand tons whereas the plan demands only 1,5 tons. Second, I wish them to process all this with quality. 

One should never doubt that our fishermen fed and will feed the population with fish. – finished our talk Vadim Vissarionovich. – I wish them not to lessen, and only to raise the level of their achievements!

Interviewed by Viktoria IZMAILOVA.

 

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