Russian Fishing Companies Signed Agreement to Minimize the Impact of Bottom Trawl Fishery on the Ecosystem in the Barents Sea and Norwegian Sea

30 November 2016

Press release

9 November, Murmansk

 

Russian Fishing Companies Signed Agreement to Minimize the Impact of Bottom Trawl Fishery on the Ecosystem in the Barents Sea and Norwegian Sea

 

Today, Russian fishing companies catching cod, haddock and another demersal species in the North Atlantic represented by the Fishing Industry Union of the North (FIUN), NOREBO Group (former KARAT Group), FEST Group and Archangelsk Trawl Fleet (the Parties) signed in Murmansk the Agreement on Coordination of Activities of Fishing Companies to Decrease the Impact of Bottom Trawl Fishery on Ecosystems of the Barents Sea and Norwegian Sea (the Agreement). The Agreement was developed by the Coordination Centre for Development of Sustainable Fishery in the North Atlantic, previously established by the companies that signed the Agreement.

The Agreement sets forth a package of measures aimed at decrease of negative impact of bottom fishery on benthic communities in the Barents Sea and Norwegian Sea. The Parties in cooperation with Russian research and environmental organizations using all available scientific data including research results of foreign and international scientific organizations plan the following: develop and implement a registration scheme for some of the vulnerable marine ecosystem (VME) indicator species on the fishing vessels; train crew-members to register VME indicator species in benthic bycatch; map VME areas both within the existing fishing area and new fishing areas; analyse fishing activity of the Russian fleet to identify if the bottom trawl fisheries interact with mapped VME areas.

Besides the Parties shall not expand their bottom trawl fisheries outside the existing fishing area that will be determined in cooperation with the Russian fishery research organizations based on the fishery data from all Russian vessels in the period from 1995 to 2016. Any bottom trawl fishery outside the existing fishing area will be performed subject to the scientific advice on the risk of a significant adverse impact on possible VME areas in such areas when catching demersal fish species with bottom trawl gear.

The decision of the leading Russian fishing companies to develop and implement this Agreement is an important step of the initiative from Russian harvesting sector to develop sustainable fishery in the North Atlantic.

“The implementation of the measures provided in the Agreement requires an active input both from the harvesting sector and from the fishery research organizations. We also plan to cooperate with environmental organizations, in the first place with WWF Russia, in order to implement some of the measures under the Agreement. It’s also important to notice that this initiative came from the harvesting sector and we hope that our governmental bodies responsible for management of fisheries In Russia will support this initiative”, says the spokesman of NOREBO Group and chairman of the Coordination Council for Development of Sustainable Fishery in the North Atlantic Sergey Sennikov.

“The protection of environmental situation in the fishing areas and sustainability of our fishing stocks has a vital importance for the existence of our business. We think that cooperation with environmental organizations and other stakeholders can give more benefits to both sides than any distrust and aloofness”, says executive director of Archangelsk Trawl Fleet Sergey Nesvetov.

The Parties mean that development of Russian fishery in cooperation with the fishery research organizations can become a good example of responsible fishery performed in full compliance with the high international environmental standards and recommendations of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

 

Supplemental Information

The Coordination Council for Development of Sustainable Fishery in the North Atlantic was established on the 17th of March 2016 under the Agreement on coordination of activities of fishing companies to develop sustainable fishery in the North Atlantic.

The Agreement on Coordination of Activities of Fishing Companies to Decrease the Impact of Bottom Trawl Fishery on Ecosystems of the Barents Sea and Norwegian Sea is supported by the fishing companies-members of the Fishing Industry Union of the North (FIUN); Murmansk Trawl Fleet PJSC, Murmansk Region Fleet JSC, FC Sogra JSC, KARAT-1 JSC, Rybprominvest JSC, Alternativa JSC and Karelian Seafood JSC (NOREBO group); Fenix JSC, Eridan JSC, Strelets JSC and Taurus JSC (FEST Group) and Archangelsk Trawl Fleet JSC (ATF).

In the framework of the Coordination Council the Russian fishing companies also have a joint project for modernization of the bottom trawl gear used for cod, haddock and saithe fishery in the Barents Sea and Norwegian Sea in order to decrease the impact of this fishing gear on the marine environment. The project is performed in cooperation with the Knipovich Polar Research Institute of Marine Fisheries and Oceanography (PINRO).

All Parties of the Agreement have MSC certificates for their cod and haddock fishery.