Russia has adopted a new Agriculture and Fishery Development Strategy, after its previous strategy was rendered obsolete by the geopolitical upheaval caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in late February.
The new strategy is part of a larger economic plan geared toward achieving higher domestic growth rates following sanctions leived by European Union, United Kingdom, and the U.S levied against Russia. Another key part of the new plan, according to the note, is enhancing the nation’s food security and increasing its food exports.
“Target parameters for the fishery industry have been corrected in accordance with new food security requirements,” Russian Federal Agency for Fisheries Head Ilya Shestakov said in an agency press release.
Russia’s new fisheries strategy continues to place emphasis on increasing the production and quality of value-added seafood products, with Shestakov setting the goal of squeezing 50 percent more value out of each metric ton of seafood caught by 2030. That target is identical to the country’s goal in its previous fisheries plan, despite the drastically different economic circumstances Russia now faces after losing many of its export markets to trading sanctions.
Russia will also continue programs geared toward fleet and seafood processing modernization, and improving its aquaculture production to reach a goal of 618,000 metric tons of output by 2030. The government announced through its new plan that it will invest RUB 136.5 billion (USD 2.3 billion, EUR 2.4 billion) in the fishery sector through 2030, with most of that going to science and rescue vessels.
Most of the changes implemented in the new strategy document are in response to the recent exodus of Western companies from the country, including companies that make aquafeed, genetics companies, and vessel and equipment designers and manufacturers. Through incentives for businesses and additional investments in fishery science, the strategy aims to increase domestic aquafeed production and improve Russia’s capacity for aquaculture-related genetics programs and aquafeed manufacturing.
Russia’s aquaculture industry had been on a positive trajectory – the country produced 358,000 MT of aquaculture products in 2021, a 180 percent increase from 2016. However, that result required between 200,000 and 230,000 MT of additional aquaculture feed – and Russia only produced 20,000 MT of feed in 2021. An estimated 90 to 95 percent of the country’s aquaculture feed is imported.
As early as April 2022, aquaculture operators were asking the Russian Federal Agency for Fisheries to act quickly as the country’s aquafeed inventory dwindled due to foreign companies boycotting Russia or being banned from trading there due to international sanctions. The government responded a plan to increase domestic production, including a May 2022 announcement of the construction of a new aquafeed plant in the Novgorod region to produce salmon feed. However, Shestakov said new feed plant could take three years to come online.
Russia also faces challenges in achieving the objectives for its wild-catch fisheries outlined in the new strategy document.