Russia fisheries chief calls for doubling of global seafood haul

Ilya Shestakov, chairman of the Russia’s Federal Agency for Fisheries, said that the world’s oceans can yield twice as much catch of fish as is currently caught.

In his remarks at the opening of the International Seafood Forum, held in Saint Petersburg, Russia, in September, Shestakov said great potential lies in underexploited and under-researched areas, such as areas in the Arctic and Antarctic seas. 

Shestakov said Russia will also focus its upcoming fishing efforts on using national quotas to a fuller extent, adding that Russian fishermen caught 4.7 million MT of fish in 2016, but existing quotas allow for an increase in output by 40 percent.  

Shestakov challenged the opinion that an increase in global seafood output can be achieved only via development of aquaculture. The world’s oceans have areas which can be exploited without doing any harm to ecosystems, making it possible to increase global fish catch to 200 to 250 million metric tons (MT) per annum – more than double the roughly 100 million MT caught in 2016, Shestakov said, citing results of research of Russian scientists.

Besides greater exploration of polar areas, Shestakov suggested global catches could be sustainably increased by catching more mesopelagic fish and oceanic squid. 

Shestakov called for greater collaboration between countries to explore and exploit new waters and new catch technologies to provide consumers with more seafood. 

“Why not establish an international working group of scientists to tackle this task?” Shestakov asked, emphasizing that the international cooperation for development of fishing and aquaculture has the potential to create millions of new jobs across the globe. 


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