ST.PETERSBURG, September 17 (Itar-Tass) — Russia intends to increase its presence in Northwest Atlantic, Vasily Sokolov, the deputy head of the Federal Agency for Fisheries, said in an interview with Itar-Tass prior to the 34th session of the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) which opened in St. Petersburg on Monday.
He said that the USSR had caught plenty of biological resources in that part of the Atlantic.
“Our fishing vessels have practically left that area in recent years. It was a disaster five or seven years ago. Today, only two companies from Murmansk are fishing there,” Sokolov said.
Tens of thousands tons of fish used to be caught in Northwest Atlantic in previous years. Today, Russia’s share in the general quota ranges from 1%-2% to 26 % for various types of fish or six percent on average.
Sokolov said that Northwest Atlantic was a remote area for Russia which is complicated in terms of logistics support. In planned economy, the state helped overcome those hardships. Nowadays, operation in Northwest Atlantic proves to be difficult and unprofitable for private companies. Nevertheless, Sokolov believes that Russia should build up its presence in that fishing area. He said that the Federal Agency for Fisheries had a plan for increasing fish catches and improving work conditions for Russian fishermen.
The 34th session of the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization will meet behind the closed doors until September 21.
The Northwest Atlantic Fisheries organization was set up in 1979 to regulate fishing in the northwestern part of the Atlantic beyond the economic zones of coastal states. Twelve contracting parties are the NAFO members.
Two hundred delegates from all NAFO member countries are taking part in the 34th session. They include Denmark, Iceland, Canada, Cuba, Norway, the Republic of Korea, Russia, the United States, Ukraine, France, Japan as well as the European Union.
Representatives of sectoral inter-governmental organizations and non-governmental environmental organizations will be present as observers.