Prices for red fish and caviar have jumped due to the low catch of salmon, and not only...
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Prices for red fish and caviar have jumped due to the low catch of salmon, and not only...

24 December 2020, 17:42EconomyPhoto: Медиахолдинг 1Mi
Red fish and caviar in Russia are rapidly becoming more expensive. Experts see the reasons for the low salmon catches, the weakening of the national currency and the possible collusion of producers.

According to the All-Russian Research Institute of Fisheries and Oceanography (VNIRO), as of October 10, the catch of Pacific salmon in the Far Eastern basin amounted to 295 thousand tons. This is the lowest figure since 2009. In 2020, the actual catch of this type of fish turned out to be 23% less than projected. At the same time, the cost of fish on store shelves depends on the catch rate. By the way, in 2018 and 2019. 677 thousand and 480 thousand tons of salmon were caught, respectively.

In all regions of the Far East, where salmon is caught, as of early October, red fish production has decreased by 51%, writes Vostok-Media. In the Khabarovsk Territory - by 22%. The largest decline in production is observed in Kamchatka. About 190 thousand tons of salmon were caught there, which is 60% less than in the previous season. Positive dynamics was recorded only in Primorye, but there are not many salmon - about a thousand tons.

Speaking about the situation this year, all fishermen point out the main problem - the situation with an unjustified forecast of salmon approaches on the eastern coast of Kamchatka. The enterprises were counting on big fishing, but in the end they faced very insignificant approaches”, - stressed the Acting Minister of Fisheries of the Kamchatka Territory Andrei Zdevetsky.

In the analysis of VNIRO salmon fishing season for 2020, it is said that the undershoot of pink salmon in the Magadan region, pink salmon and chum salmon in Chukotka and the Southern Kuriles, as well as all species of Pacific salmon in the east of Kamchatka “cannot be explained either by the miscalculations of industry science, or by the peculiarities of regulation and fishing aimed at reducing the fishing load”.

According to the Institute, the reason for the low catch was the low number of approaches of the Pacific salmon. The most resonant was the undershoot of Pacific salmon in the Karaginskaya subarea, according to VNIRO (Russian Federation Research Institute of Fishery and Oceanography).

They also concluded that the increase in mortality of Pacific salmon during the wintering period was due to a reduction in the area of feeding areas, as well as in connection with the qualitative and quantitative restructuring of planktonic communities.

In fact, due to the catastrophic changes that took place in the ecosystem of the North Pacific in the winter of 2019–2020, only local areas of the Kuril waters and the central part of the districts of the Khabarovsk Territory, eastern Sakhalin, as well as the Bristol Gulf”, - the analysis of Russian Federation Research Institute of Fishery and Oceanography says.

A large-scale climatic shift has hit the salmon harvest not only in Russia, but also in the USA, Canada and Japan, adds Vostok-Media.

Alexei Baitalyuk, head of the Pacific branch of the VNIRO Federal State Budgetary Scientific Institution, believes that in the next two years it is necessary to take seriously the reduction of the approaches of long-lived salmon species.

The low salmon catches affected prices not only for fish, but also for caviar, which is so popular among Russians on the eve of the New Year. According to RIA Novosti, the price for red fish has risen by 30% since January. Prices for caviar jumped on average by 24% compared to December 2019. However, experts see the problem not only in poor production.

Thus, the vice-president of the Association of Production and Trade Enterprises of the Fish Market Alexander Fomin believes that due to the weakening of the national currency, export sales have become more profitable. There is no reason for manufacturers to keep prices for domestic consumers if there is an opportunity to sell goods abroad.

Also, experts do not exclude collusion between manufacturers, since the market has been severely affected by the pandemic. “Marine resources are renewable, it all depends on nature. But there are nuances. For example, science tells us that up to a million tons of cod and haddock can be harvested per year, while large enterprises declare: we don't need a million, 800 thousand will be enough. What is it for: to regulate the pricing policy, to keep prices at a favorable level, "- said one of the interlocutors of RIA Novosti.

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