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TOKYO, August 13. /TASS/. Russia is open to cooperation with Japan in the fishing industry and welcomes investments in the industry infrastructure, Ilya Shestakov, head of Russia’s fisheries agency Rosrybolovstvo, said on Thursday.
In an interview with Japan's public broadcaster NHK, Shestakov expressed his support for broader interaction on the issue of Japanese fishing in Russia's exclusive economic zone. He said that the two countries had a corresponding agreement, noting prospects for development in the sphere. He also stressed that Russia’s drift-net fishing ban, introduced last month, was aimed, among other things, at restoring the region's ecosystem.
When asked about prospects for fishery cooperation between Russia and Japan, Shestakov said Moscow welcomed investments in the fishing industry coastal infrastructure. He also noted that farming of oysters and scallops was a particularly promising area nowadays.
On July 1, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law banning drift-net fishing as of January 1, 2016. The measure applies to both domestic and foreign ships.
Drift-net fishing is the fishing by floating drift-nets, nicknamed "walls of death". They are 30 meters wide, 12 high and many kilometers long. The nets are set on migration ways of tuna, salmon, whales and other migratory animals. Fish juveniles get wounds and die after passing through cells of drift-nets. Birds and marine mammals die, too.
As Russia’s parliamentary upper house Speaker Valentina Matviyenko, who is one of the authors of the ban, said earlier the law was geared to preserving the country’s economic security and improving the social and economic situation in the coastal areas.
The ban on drift-net fishing has alarmed Japanese fishing companies. In 2014, a total of 35 Japanese fishing boats were using drift-nets to fish for Pacific salmon in Russia’s exclusive economic zone.