Russian Fishery Company’s ouster from PCA, MSC temporarily suspended

Russian Fishery Company (RFC) gained an intermediate victory in its clash with the Pollock Catchers Association (PCA) – Russia’s Marine Stewardship Council’s (MSC) client group – over its ouster from the body, as a commercial court imposed restrictive measures on the PCA’s actions prohibiting the association from taking any further steps to implement its decision to expel RFC. 

In the middle of 2020, Gleb Frank, the young and ambitious owner of RFC, reached out to the Russian government to propose radical reforms to the Russian fishery sector. Key points of the proposal were to extend auction practices to all crab quotas – as well as quotas for other sought-after species – the elimination of vessels older than 30 years, and other bold measures to spur the industry’s economic performance. 

The move caused outrage across the industry, backfiring at the company. In September, PCA’s members voted to exclude RFC’s six affiliated fisheries from the body, thus automatically stripping the group of an MSC’s certificate. 

RFC said it would seek the certification on its own and contact the government to investigate the matter. The company also filed a suit in the Primorsky Commercial Court to challenge the PCA’s decision. As business paper Kommersant reported, RFC claimed its proposal could not harm the PCA’s members’ interests, the ground on which the exclusion was voted for. 

While waiting for the court to resolve the case, RFC asked the court to impose restrictive measures – to suspend the ouster and make PCA notify all other sides involved, including MSC, about this suspension. In October, the court partially agreed with RFC’s request, ordering PCA to stop the ouster, but refused to make the association notify other parties.

PCA challenged the measures imposed in a file submitted in October, but the court denied this objection. From a legal point of view, this means that RFC’s subsidiaries are still part of PCA. 

RFC’s representative confirmed the court’s decision, declining any further comments until the case has been resolved. The next hearing is scheduled for late November.  


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