Relevant topics

2019 May 8

Peotr Savchuk: “Numerous opportunities of the global ocean are not being used in full”

Extensive plans of Russia’s fishery industry include the construction of new fishing, research and cargo ships as well as catching of new products and research of the global ocean opportunities. Peotr Savchuk, deputy head of Rosrybolovstvo (Russian Federal Fisheries Agency) tell about it in his interview with IAA PortNews. 

- Mr. Savchuk, what are the most topical issues to be considered at the Global Fishery Forum & Seafood Expo which is to be held in July

- That is an international forum and we consider global fishery trends there. The issue of the first forum was ‘competition or cooperation’? The entire international community supported the approach according to which the most acute issues such as regulation, scientific and technological development, interaction on prevention of IUU fishing (illegal, unreported and unregulated - Ed.) is based on cooperation. That said, one should remember that competition in the markets is a driver of the economic growth for both businesses and for the industry. 

At the second forum we tried to look into the future, beyond 2050. This year we will consider the potential of the global ocean and its ecosystems. Joint discussions will let escalate the issue to a new level. The global ocean is versatile providing numerous opportunities the mankind does not use in full yet. There are mesopelagic and deep-water areas to be developed. Therefore, it is crucial for us today to improve the technologies for production of bio resources not used earlier. Meanwhile the environmental issue should not be neglected, especially when it comes to preservation of resources and the biosystem. And of course, the issues of the Antarctic and the Arctic are of the utmost importance. For example, enormous bioresources are concentrated in the Antarctic where protected areas are being established. Therefore, it is necessary to ensure a balance taking into account all the stakeholders’ interests.  

Among the vital topics is the one brought up by fishing companies – capitalization of fishery business and the market situation in general. We will also discuss promotion of products on the market. 

- What is your forecast for 2019 catch? 

- We expect the catch to remain at the level of the previous year. It is clear that we are not to see as much salmon due to their specific life cycle but we are going to keep the result of over 5 million tonnes with the catch of mackerel and sardine. 

- When will the auctions for obtaining investment quotas on crab catching be held? 

- We are working on the regulatory framework. The projects have already been presented to the public already with more detailed discussion underway. About six regulatory acts are to be issued by the Government of Russia. These documents are to be elaborated during a month following which they are to undergo public discussion and evaluation of their regulatory impact. Taking into consideration all the above mentioned activities we will most likely be ready to hold auctions by August. 

- How many crab catching ships do you expect to be built under those investment quotas? 

- There are 36 lots if nothing changes. The regulatory framework can be altered but we expect some 36-40 ships to be built. 

- Large-scale construction of fishing fleet brings up the issue of import substitution when it comes to shipboard equipment. What is the situation in this respect? 

- Basing on the experience of investment quota programme, the cost of material, equipment and work makes up to 40% of the total ship cost. If we do not produce certain equipment we cannot insist on it. Our foreign partners are not ready to establish their ship equipment manufactures in the Russian Federation. 

Meanwhile we see a trend towards increasing the level of import substitution. For instance, Ak Bars Group is ready to manufacture hoisting winches for trawling systems, cargo operations, etc. In case of the same trend in respect of other products they can be accepted under the Government Decree No 719 (describing the criteria for acknowledging the product as the one of Russian origin – Ed.). We work together with the Ministry of Industry and Trade and if some equipment is ready we correlate it with the Decree. 

- What about designing

- The regulations foresee the following requirements in this respect: the projects should be developed by Russian design bureaus. Obviously, they will cooperate with foreign partners, but finally that will be a Russian design. 

For example, Nautic Rus is registered in Russia and its employees work here. However, it is owned by an Icelandic entity. Yet, being registered in Russia and working here it develops projects defined as Russian.

So, there is a localization trend in the part of design. A transition to the next phase when some of the requirements can be toughened is under consideration. 

- What about the programme on construction of new research ships? 

- In pursuance of RF President’s instructions we are completing the design of three scientific research ships of the seventh generation. These are very big vessels of about 120 meters in length and of about 9,000 tonnes in displacement. In terms of equipment, these vessels are one of a kind in the world: they will have meteorological stations, submersibles for survey of deep-water objects and environment, facilities for monitoring of fishing equipment, drones including those for detection of pelagic objects. The ships will be equipped with state-of-the-art laboratories. We expect them to perform both scientific and training tasks. Every year, up to 20 cadets will be able to undergo their practice on each ship. 

Besides, there is a plan to build five 70-meter long scientific research ships. Such vessels are required for operation in our exclusive economic zone. They will be more mobile as compared with ocean going ones but also well equipped with drones and modern labs. There is also a plan to build two scientific research ships of up to 40 meters in length for specific functions such as efficient research for coastal fishing.  

There are designs available for those seven scientific research ships. We consider the global experience to select the best alternatives. We will further develop specifications for design bureaus. I would like to emphasize that we work only with Russian designers. 

So, a total of 10 scientific research ships are to be built. The existing scientific research fleet is sufficient for the coming decade. Therefore, the task is to upgrade it by 2024. 

- Transportation of fish along the Northern Sea Route by Sevmorput, nuclear-powered LASH carrier / container carrier, is under discussion today. What is your opinion about its viability. Are there any alternative logistic schemes under consideration? 

- The Northern Sea Route will continue to be used for transportation of fish by refrigerated ships. However, those are moderate volumes: about 10,000 – 15,000 tonnes. As for the LASH / container carrier, it is interesting due to its ability to make several voyages – about three versus one voyage of a refrigerated ship. Thus, it can carry up to 50,00 tonnes of product during the navigation period. Financial calculations are being carried out. The working group collects data on the product volumes. As for the ports, we are considering Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky in the Far East and Arkhangelsk in the western region as well as Murmansk and Ust-Luga which feature a sufficient depth. There is a proposal from Saint-Petersburg which is being analyzed by the working group. 

As following Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, its development is crucial task for us. It is located close to fishing areas and fishing companies are interested in making it a component of the logistic chain. 

We are not focused narrowly on LASH / container carrier. Perhaps, it will be reasonable to involve a different fleet. The working group is looking into a variety of alternatives. 

- Could you please tell about a programme on construction of a refrigerated fleet. 

- Indeed, we are going to strengthen the fleet of refrigerated ships with 5,000 – 7,000 tonne units. Their task is to operate on a ‘short leg’ to take the product in the fishing area and transport it to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky from where it is to be transported by either the Northern Sea Route or by a southern route. Maersk is ready to be involved in this work. 

In general, the work we are doing together with the Ministry of Industry and Trade is aimed at construction of ten refrigerated ships for the Far East and three 3,000-tonne ships for the Northern region. There are companies ready to take part in the project. 

- What about the process of FSUE Natsrybresurs incorporation? 

- This issue has been forwarded to the Government of Russia for approval. 

- What are the plans on modernization of fishing ports in 2019? 

- We are set to perform modernization of the Kamchatka terminal that is to serve as a base for reefer container terminal. We are also looking into modernization of infrastructure at the ports of Murmansk and Magadan. 

Interviewed by Vitaly Chernov