Russian Fishery Company regains PCA membership, MSC certification

Published on
December 21, 2020

A recent court decision by the Arbitration Court of the Primorsky Region in Russia has found that the decision by the Pollock Catchers Association (PCA) to expel six companies from the Russian Fishery Company (RFC) group from the association was illegal, and has been voided.

The RFC was ousted from the PCA in September after the company’s owner, Gleb Frank, proposed radical government reforms to the pollock fishery. Those reforms prompted severe pushback from the rest of the industry, leading to RFC’s ouster under a clause of the association’s organization charter saying that a member can be kicked out for taking steps that contradict the goals and tasks of the organization. 

The PCA is the client group for the Marine Stewardship Council certification of pollock in Russia, which meant that the RFC would have been unable to use the MSC logo on its products following its ejection. The company announced in October that it would seek certification on its own.

Following its ejection from the PCA, the company succeeded in getting its ouster suspended. Now, the same court that suspended the ejection has decided it was illegal for the PCA to expel the RFC from the association.

“This means that the companies of the Russian Fishery Group are restored as eligible members of PCA and are entitled to use the MSC group certificate for pollock catch in Okhotsk sea, issued to PCA,” Russian Fishery Company Corporate Communications Director Evgeniya Tsymbal said.

Tsymbal added that the PCA has been shirking the original order to suspend its ejection.

“Until now, PCA, consistently and deliberately, has failed to comply with the injunction order of the Primorsky Region Arbitration Court issued in October, with the requirements of the Federal Bailiff Service, and the prosecutor's office requests, and has not informed Lloyd's Register and MSC that the RFC companies are entitled to the PCA group MSC certificate,” Tsymbal said.

The RFC has roughly 300,000 metric tons of quota allocated to it, out of a total of nearly 1.8 million metric tons allocated Russia-wide. The company recently took delivery of the first of 10 supertrawlers, capable of catching 60,000 metric tons of fish annually. 

Photo by Chris Chase/SeafoodSource

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