Russia further restricts foreign investment in domestic seafood companies

A Russian shrimp trawler.

Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin has signed a decree approving further restrictions on foreign investment in the country's seafood industry.

The decree, announced by the Russian government 5 June, includes 47 seafood species in the Northern, West Siberian, and Far Eastern fishery basins. The species fall under recently signed legal limits on foreign investment that requires foreign investors get permission to harvest more than 35 percent of a total allowable catch of any of the species in any particular fishery basin.

Species listed by the government include cod, mackerel, haddock, Pacific herring, halibut, capelin, pollock, Far Eastern flounder, scallops, various types of crab, shrimp, and mollusk. 

The decree, the government said, was create to implement the new rules in the aforementioned legal limits to foreign investment, created to “ensure the defense of the country and the security of the state.” The rule extends to any business entity that is under the control of a foreign investor, and applies if the investor or entities in the same group as the investor will, by aggregate, have more than 35 percent of the total allowable catch of a species in a particular basin.

The tightened controls come after Russia classified its seafood industry as critically important to national food security, and increased restrictions on foreign investment. The country first tightened rules around foreign ownership in its seafood sector in 2014, following Russia’s annexation of the Crimean Peninsula, which resulted in international sanctions. Prior to the new restrictions, foreign investors were allowed to own up to 50 percent of a fishing company.

In 2014, the government made that level subject to approval, and then in 2021, the law was strengthened to reduce foreign ownership stakes down to a maximum of 25 percent.  

Photo courtesy of Lasse Johansson/Shutterstock 


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