Difficult Situation Amid Political Instability: Will Fishermen Catch Russian Trout in Japanese EEZ?
15:54 GMT 23.03.2023 (Updated: 12:15 GMT 06.04.2023)
Representatives of Japan and Russia began discussing terms and conditions for Japanese fishermen’s salmon and trout fishing in Japan's 200-mile exclusive economic zone for 2023, the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said on Monday.
Alexander Savelyev, the head of the Fisheries Information Agency, told Sputnik if the Russian and Japanese sides would agree on the terms of fishing, as well as possible points of contention.
According to Savelyev, when we talk about Russian-Japanese relations in the field of fisheries, we usually refer to two agreements - those of 1984 and 1985. The first agreement covers stocks of aquatic biological resources in the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) of both countries. Under this agreement, Japan and Russia allocate a number of fishing quotas to each other in their respective waters on a reciprocal and fee basis.
The second agreement concerns the development of Pacific salmon reserves. There is no reference to trout, Savelyev pointed out. The Russian salmon fishery has been the most important area of fishing cooperation between the two countries for many years.
"Another thing is that now the political situation is unstable, and relations between us and the legal framework are undergoing some deformation. In particular, Russia has banned Japanese fishermen from fishing in the Kuril Islands. But when it comes to the Japanese EEZ, we only have to agree on the volume (quota) and the amount of payments."
Debate Over Harm to Marine Life The Japanese usually catch salmon with drift nets, which Russia opposes, explained Savelyev. In Russia, drift netting is banned because these nets stretch for several kilometers or even tens of kilometers, causing enormous damage to marine life.
"Discarded or lost drift nets are even more dangerous - marine life gets caught in them and dies. And because the nets are made of synthetic fibers, they take a very long time to decompose," the expert said.
Therefore, according to Savelyev, the Japanese often "deliberately do not use this word ("drift") in order not to irritate Russia" in negotiations.