As much as 80% of Russia seafood will be sold in country's fish stores in 2013, government official says

MOSCOW , December 21, 2012 () – In 2013, as many as 80 percent of Russian seafood will be sold in the country's fish stores, head of Federal Agency for Fishery (Rosrybolovstvo) Andrei Krainy said on Friday at a press conference in Moscow on the results of the work of Russia's fishermen in 2012.

Krainy pointed out that the Russian government had earlier set this task to the country's fishermen only for 2018.

"We can provide Russians with high-quality domestic fish products, because we currently catch more than the country's population consumes," said the head of the Federal Agency for Fishery.

According to Krainy, "Consumption of fishery products in the country is increasing annually, and the culture of consumption is improving." According to the Federal Fisheries Agency, "Russia's current consumption is 28 kilograms of fish per person per year, which is much higher than in most countries and even in some developed countries."

Krainy reported that "this year, the total catch of Russian fishermen has reached some 4 million tonnes, slightly lower than in 2011, but that is enough to meet the population's fish consumption demand."

"In 2013, even more fish will be caught, especially salmon," promised the head of Federal Agency for Fisheries, citing scientists' data on the study of biological resources of the Far East.

Krainy also noted that "in 2012, Russian fishermen have significantly increased their presence in the territorial waters of West Africa, where a few more countries have been added to the traditional places of fishing, such as Morocco and Mauritania."

He specified that "a fishing agreement with South Africa will be signed in the short run, and the Russian fishermen will enter the territorial waters of the country for commercial fishing, which had never happened in the history of relations between the two countries."

Krainy explained that "the fish caught in the territorial waters of West Africa is sent for the production of canned products to Kaliningrad, which produces about 50 percent of all canned fish products."

According to head of the Russian Federal Agency for Fisheries, in 2013 "it is planned to open in the Russian territory fish stores of sales networks, principled and final agreements with their owners have been reached." Krainy said that in 2013, a total of 15 such outlets will be opened in big grocery shopping centres in Moscow, and then up to 3 thousand - across Russia.

Krainy also said that "negotiations are underway on making electronic cards for Russians in which the system of providing of families in need with certain fish products at low prices will be integrated." It is planned to provide all citizens of the country with such cards.

With this end in view, he said, "In most stores it is planned to create special sections where the needy families will be able to buy fish products at low prices, paying with this card." "Certainly, no black caviar and expensive fish will be sold in these outlets, but good quality fish products at affordable prices," said Krainy.

He pointed out that "already now it is possible to buy at stores of the Moscow retail chain more than 400 species of fish and aquaculture products."

Asked by Itar-Tass to comment on the question of red tape regarding reports on catches of fishermen of fishing farms in the lower Volga area, put to President Vladimir Putin at a press conference on December 20, Krainy said that he would defend in the Russian government the system of control and accounting introduced in 2012 in this region, as it addresses the issues of poaching, overfishing, speculation and theft.

-0-ezh

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