Russian President Vladimir Putin recently signed new amendments to the country’s fishing regulations that streamline the country’s efforts to fish outside its exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

According to Russia’s Federal Fisheries Agency (Rosrybolovstvo), the new law will allow Russian fishing vessels to fish in international waters in the absence of decisions made by interstate bodies.

As justification, the law declares Russia has the authority to establish a total allowable catch (TAC) for species in the areas where international organizations have not made decisions on the volume of resources available.

Rosrybolovstvo said the new law will allow Russian fishermen to “fish stably in the zones of foreign states and conventional areas” of the ocean.

Russia has threatened to withdraw from the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES) over a suspension launched by the organization in the wake of its invasion of Ukraine. In February, the country withdrew from a decades-old fishing agreement with the U.K., PressTV reported, after the country announced new sanctions against Russia.

“They have imposed sanctions on us, while they themselves make up 40 percent of their diet, their fish menu, from our cod. Let them now lose some weight,” Russian parliamentary speaker Vyacheslav Volodin said.

Russia was also denied reelection to the U.N.’s International Maritime Organization in late 2023 and, just weeks later, heard a bill to declare the Sea of Azov as an “internal water” giving the country jurisdiction over it.

The Royal United Services Institute has speculated that Russia may be dissatisfied with current fisheries laws and the new law could be part of a push toward withdrawal from the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Aside from governing Russia’s stance on fishing in international waters, the new law also allows fishermen in the Azov and Black seas to keep fishing laws on paper until 1 January 2026.

Another key aspect of the new law is allowing the continuation of work in fishing areas where contracts expire before 1 November 2024. According to Rosrybolovstvo, this amendment is intended to solve issues faced by salmon fishermen in the Primorye and Khabarovsk territories in Russia’s Far East.

According to Fishnews, fishermen in the area were facing a period where contracts for a number of fishing areas would expire in the middle of the fishing season in mid-July.

“If this issue is not resolved in time, enterprises will lose production volumes; this will affect their financial and economic condition, the situation in the regions, and the performance of the fishing industry of the Primorsky Territory as a whole,” Russian fishing organization ARPP told Fishnews.

Additionally, the new law will allow fishermen in the region to continue fishing; however, it also stipulates that a new agreement on fishing contracts must be concluded before the end of 2024.