WWF: Illegal Russian crab fishing ‘rampant’


SeafoodSource staff

Published on
October 17, 2014

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has issued a new report charging that “rampant” illegal crab fishing in Russian waters is leading to dangerously low crab stocks.

The report, which the WWF has titled “Illegal Russian Crab: An investigation of trade flow,” is based on a decade of trade and customs data. According to WWF, the data shows “major discrepancies” between how much crab fishermen in Russian waters claim to have caught and how much of that same crab is exported to other markets, including the United States.

“The study shows that during that period, between two to four times the legal harvest limit has entered the global marketplace,” WWF said in a statement releasing the report.

By contrast, the report shows Russian domestic trade data which indicates the crab fishery is staying within legal harvest limit. Meanwhile, on average, Russia has supplied about 77 percent of the U.S. domestic consumer market for king crab over the past 10 years.

“The U.S. is likely importing large quantities of crab and other seafood which may have been illegally caught,” said Michele Kuruc, WWF VP of marine policy. “The problem is the US is unable to say how much is illegal. We need a way to obtain and assess this information if we want to address this global illegal fishing problem.”

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