|SEAFOOD.COM NEWS by Eugene Gerden Aug 22, 2013
Moscow – Despite all the efforts of the Russian government to fight crab poaching its volumes are
steadily growing. During the first six months of this year, imports of expensive king crab to Japan
has increased by five times or 500%, compared to the same period of last year say Russian sources.
At the same time, according to data of the customs service of Hokkaido island, for the same period
imports of live snow crab dropped by 22.2%.
The Japanese figures greatly differ from the data of the Russian Federal Customs Service of Russia,
according to which during the first half of 2013 total amount of declared crab exports to Japan
amounted to only 600 tons, which is 30 times less, compared to Japanese figures.
According to a representative of the Russian Far Eastern Association of Crab Catchers, a change in the
structure of illegal crab imports occurred after the signing of a recent Russian-Japanese agreement,
which involves reciprocal measures for the combat illegal fishing of fish and seafood.
This has resulted in a shift of poachers’ priorities to more expensive king crab, priced at $12-16 per kg,
instead of $4-5 as in case of snow crab.
At the same time another reason for a significant increase of illegal crab catch is the existing delay in
ratification of the Russian-Japanese agreement.
According to an official representative of the Russian Federal Fisheries Agency, the work on final
ratification of the document is still underway.
According to Alexander Saveliev, Rosrybolovstvo’s corporate affairs director, last week, the government
authorized the Federal Fisheries Agency to issue certificates on the exports of fish and seafood from Russia
to China and Japan. According to him, these certificates will confirm the legality of exporters’ catches in
According to estimates of the Russian Accounts Chamber, the cost of illegal exports of fish and seafood
from Russia is currently in the range of 15-30 billion rubles. This figure exceeds net financial results of
the entire Russian fishing industry of 14.4 billion rubles.