View settings

Font size:
Site colours:


Official website of the President of Russia

Документ   /

Meeting with Head of Federal Agency for Fishery Ilya Shestakov

April 8, 2024, The Kremlin, Moscow

Vladimir Putin held a working meeting with Head of the Federal Agency for Fishery Ilya Shestakov to discuss the agency’s performance in 2023 and the current state of affairs in the sector.

Head of the Federal Agency for Fishery Ilya Shestakov: Mr President, I would like to report on the fishing sector’s performance in 2023.

As I reported earlier, Russian fishermen harvested a record-high catch of 5.3 million tonnes of fish, the highest in the past 30 years. Pollock is our traditional staple species. The salmon season was also good, with the second largest catch in history at 609,000 tonnes this year, compared to 670,000 previously.

The ivasi sardine is popular among Russian consumers. This year, we caught 544,000 tonnes of it. And here I would like to note that we hit another record: a fishing vessel under the Russian flag caught over 90,000 tonnes of fish last year, which is a world record among all vessels.

Overall, the fishery was supported by the headquarters that were created for each fishing season. In addition, the infrastructure worked smoothly. There was sufficient refrigeration capacity, and shipping operations went well.

Mr President, I would like to speak briefly about aquaculture, which is important to us. We started a long time ago with a fairly low baseline, but a law on expanding aquaculture was adopted in 2013. After that, we managed to double the output. We have not stopped there. Our objective under the Strategy for the Development of the Fishery Sector is to achieve 600,000 tonnes by 2030.

In general, our operations are running smoothly. Aquaculture companies are receiving support through investment loans issued by the Ministry of Agriculture.

We had encountered some issues with fish feed and stock fry. With regard to fish feed, I think domestic production will fully meet our needs in 2025 thanks to the cost-compensation mechanism which has been introduced.

The situation with stock fry is a bit more complicated. This support measure will be provided starting from 2025, and the corresponding plants are under construction. I anticipate that by 2028–2029, we will meet our stock fry needs in the areas that have so far remained underdeveloped, primarily the salmonids – trout and salmo salar – which we did not produce earlier.

Of course, modernisation of the agro-industrial sector is a crucial area thanks to the decisions you have adopted.

Vladimir Putin: Shipbuilding, plants, and quotas.

Ilya Shestakov: Yes, Mr President.

We have planned a 300-billion investment – for the first stage alone. We plan to build 105 vessels. We have already built 22 vessels, albeit with some delay. Well, as for the delay, sometimes we are building vessels with a big delay but now we have restructured shipyard operations. Wherever we had problems, we have signed new contracts with new equipment suppliers. Now we have levelled out schedules and I hope that in line with them we will build all these vessels on schedule. Under the plan, it is 2027 when we are to deliver the last vessel to our customer.

As for the plants, we have no problems at all. As we planned, we have built 25 plants in both the Far East and the Northern basin. This is of great help to the fishing industry.

In line with your instructions, we have done the second stage of investment quotas. We did a bit more in this respect and in addition to vessels we plan to build – 46 vessels, we will also build six logistics centres with modern refrigerators and container yards for the fishing industry – four in the Far East and two in the Northern basin.

Naturally, this will help us expand our logistics because although refrigerating units are now coping with their tasks, they are still dropping out. So, of course, we must have a reserve of these refrigerators for the fishing industry.

We are also going into transportation. We will build four refrigerated transport vessels. We will deal not only with catching fish but also with bringing fish back to shore. We will design and build the first four vessels for this purpose.

I would like to say a few words about the economic indicators of the industry. In general, the turnover of our companies has grown and more taxes are coming. The profit from our crab auctions amounted to 380 billion rubles.

It is very important to note that part of these funds were invested in the programme for the development of the fishing industry, under which we can upgrade our research vessels. We are also discussing rescue vessels with the Government. Plus, there is, of course, the issue of fishery inspection and staffing.

Vladimir Putin: And crab fishing vessels are also being built, laid down, right?

Ilya Shestakov: Yes, but crab fishing vessels are built using private investment. Meanwhile, in our case the funds paid to the budget are being spent on the programme to develop the fishing industry, its state component.

Importantly, we amended the Tax Code in 2023 and raised the fishing tax charges, which increased the budget revenue ten-fold.

Most importantly, 80 percent of the proceeds go to the regions. For example, the Kamchatka Territory budget used to receive 800 million [rubles] from the fishing taxes, but this year it received eight billion. Without a doubt, this will help the regions expand their infrastructure, and more.

Vladimir Putin: The Kamchatka Territory received more than any other region, right?

Ilya Shestakov: Right, Kamchatka leads in terms of the total volume. But other regions have seen their revenue increase proportionately as well. It is a big number for Kamchatka, because its economy heavily relies on the fishing industry.

Briefly, I would like to say that research is critically important to us. We have 3,750 employees on staff at our research institutes. Importantly, we conduct research focusing on resources, which makes it possible for us to limit our fishing operations and keep the fish stock sustainable for future generations to use.

We have quite a few doctors and candidates of science working at these institutes. Importantly, we managed to renew their average age which now stands at 47.

Vladimir Putin: Lower the age.

Ilya Shestakov: Lower it, correct. I apologise.

I would also like to say that you issued an instruction during the Russia–Africa Forum, and we are now getting ready to conduct a major African survey. We are now working with our African colleagues on a large African survey to study fish stocks in African countries. We are discussing this with our colleagues right now. The funding has been set aside, and a headquarters has been created. We are set to begin in the second half of the year.

Vladimir Putin: Yes, our friends asked for this and they are interested in working together.

Ilya Shestakov: We will take their researchers onboard and share with them all the data that we will gather.

Mr President, I would also like to say that we consider it important not only to use but also to preserve the fish stock. Today, 106 state fish-breeding plants are in operation. In total, their output amounted to 3.7 billion, with 2.4 billion covered by public funds, and 1.3 billion by private companies.

What have we achieved? Let’s look at such an important area as sturgeon stocking. We have not scored success in all the areas, but we can see now that sterlet stocks have grown considerably. Both amateur fishermen and industrial fisheries have noticed this. We are cautiously suggesting that sterlet fishing be permitted for amateurs in certain areas of the Volga River this year, but, understandably, with certain restrictions on the time span and fishing tackle.

Vladimir Putin: How can amateurs notice an increase in sterlet stocks if catching it is banned?

Ilya Shestakov: Mr President, they catch it but have to let it go.

Vladimir Putin: I see.

Ilya Shestakov: In general, the fishing industry is operating steadily.

My report is over.

Vladimir Putin: Thank you very much.

Are fish stocks increasing in the North as well?

Ilya Shestakov: No. You issued an instruction to this effect at the meeting with young scientists in Sirius. The situation is really bad there.

Vladimir Putin: It is not changing.

Ilya Shestakov: It is not changing and it is really critical. It is definitely necessary to work on it there. Obviously, whitefish reproduction takes a long time. The programme is designed to last up to 2040. We drafted it together with the Academy of Sciences and the corresponding regions. Yes, we do have certain disputes but I hope we will resolve them at the Government meeting now.

We assume that that this programme will be funded under the Clean Water national project and will start in 2025. Now we are making some organisational arrangements and changing certain methods and monitoring. However, we believe that the construction of new plants and the output expansion will be funded under this national project.

Vladimir Putin: Let’s go back to the “quota per keel” issue, and the shipbuilding industry.

You mentioned that the construction of ships is lagging significantly behind the schedule, but as far as I understand this has much to do with the sanctions that are being imposed or have been imposed on the Russian shipbuilding industry, primarily, spare parts and equipment. New chains are now fully operational, correct? And our own production is expanding.

Ilya Shestakov: Mr President, prior to the sanctions, fishermen widely used Western technology. Our partners did a great disservice to our fishermen by discontinuing the supply of these products and even failed to issue refunds for the advance payments made.

The fishermen are now getting these parts from friendly countries. Also, our fishermen are now considering domestic production.

Vladimir Putin: Domestic equipment.

Ilya Shestakov: I am aware that many of them ignored domestic equipment before, and were dismissive of it, but they are quite happy with it now. By the way, the fishing vessels built at our shipyards that are already working at sea are of high-quality and show very good performance results.

Vladimir Putin: A question arises in this regard. They paid for the quotas, but the vessels were not built on time for reasons that are beyond their control, objectively speaking. Do they have to pay twice for the quotas now? Or what?

Ilya Shestakov: No. Speaking about vessels, we extended the construction period being fully aware of the difficulties. We extended the construction period from five to seven years. We did that for the fishing fleet. The decision is still pending for the crab fishing fleet, and we are now discussing the proper wording for it. The term for it was five years as well, and we think we will also extend it.

Vladimir Putin: It is necessary to conduct a proper analysis and make a decision based on this independent and professional analysis.

Ilya Shestakov: Will do, Mr President.

Vladimir Putin: Very well, thank you.

April 8, 2024, The Kremlin, Moscow