Yarema Kovaliv: Ukraine may become a world leader in fish breeding

Yarema Kovaliv: Ukraine may become a world leader in fish breeding
Kyiv, February 24, 2017.

Ukraine may become a world leader in fish breeding – there all prerequisites for this. “In 2016, we caught the biggest amount of fish over 20 years of independence. Over the past 2 years, fishing has increased by 25% and in 2016 amounted to about 80,000 tons,” reported Yarema Kovaliv, head of the State Agency for Fisheries of Ukraine, at a press briefing held at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. The Agency achieved such results through massive deregulation and reducing the bureaucratic component.

Reform of fisheries

The process of creating a new fishery patrol and eliminating the old has started. Fuel and equipment are purchased, and salaries increased to 7,000 hryvnia. The patrol members have a trial period of 6 months. According to statistics, over six months of the pilot project in Kyiv region the fishery patrol conducted 476 raids, disclosed 610 violations of fishery rules, and recorded losses of more than 1.2 million UAH. “The number of officially caught fish has increased by 40% in Kyiv region alone,” noted Mr. Kovaliv. As a result, it was possible to launch new patrols in the regions of Ukraine and announce a competition for the positions of their heads.

Support for fish farming

In Ukraine, the share of fish bred by fish farmers in aquaculture is only 25%. “In this area we see the greatest potential of Ukraine in the nearest future,” stressed Yarema Kovaliv. It is also planned to continue the process of legalization of the industry and stimulate the development of fish farming next year. “Last year, Ukraine was able to get a loan from the European Investment Bank. […] As part of the 400-million loan, some money will be directed to financing our entrepreneurs and another part – to state-initiated infrastructure projects,” said Mr. Kovaliv. Farmers will also receive support from the state budget.

Improvement of legal regulations

The government continues to develop the draft laws on reducing the rent for the state water fund land, introducing fish origin certificates, increasing responsibility for violation of fishing regulations and creating the fishery fund to support fish farming. According to Yarema Kovaliv, the sport fishing rules have not been revised for some time. Many bans are irrelevant. Fishing quotas will be also revised. The new version of the document is planned to be presented in March. “Some necessary standards have been introduced to the fishing regulations for 2017. Vessels without navigation lights are forbidden to fish at night. Commercial fishery vessels are ordered to buoy their nets,” informed Yarema Kovaliv. Besides, restricted areas for fishing have been expanded.

A memorandum with the Association of Ukrainian importers of fish and seafood has been signed to encourage investment in the sector. Besides, an important legislative initiative on increasing responsibility for poaching has been offered – criminal liability for electrical and blast fishing. An electronic certificate of fish origin will be introduced. It will be exclusively in the electronic format; each batch of fish will be assigned with its own number. State body officials and consumers can obtain information about the fish origin on a special electronic portal.

International cooperation

Several important projects will be launched within the framework of the Memorandum signed with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization – General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean. We continue the work on attracting foreign experts for training fish inspectors, joint studying of fish resources in the seas, including the Black Sea, and identifying most favorable microclimate areas for mariculture, monitoring of fishing vessels and so on. Aquaculture enterprises, infrastructure projects and fish processing projects will be funded within the EIB loan framework. “The next direction is cooperation with the Kingdom of Norway. They are transferring a small fleet monitoring system and a system of electronic catch reporting to us. […] The project with Estonia on transferring an electronic system for fishing industry regulation is being completed,” informed Yarema Kovaliv.