Prison for belugas and killer whales caused a scandal in Rosrybolovstvo

Ilya Shestakova is charged with the trade of belugas, the Japanese cartel and unreasonable spending of budget funds.
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The fish industry has recently become the object of close attention of regulatory authorities. The Prosecutor General’s Office, the Court of Accounts and the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) have reported that Rosrybolovstvo has misplaced spending, illegal fishing permits and cartel arrangements. What is wrong with the office of Ilya Shestakova - in the material PASMI.

Last week, the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation spoke about numerous violations in the work of the Federal Agency for Fishery. According to the staff of the supervisory authority, in particular, Ilya Shestakov’s office was unable to stop the practice of issuing illegal fishing permits, inefficiently managed the money from the Russian budget, failed to protect the fish resources and did not adjust the process of their reproduction. Also, subordinates of Yuri Chaika indicated that the fish protection authorities subordinate to the agency did not have the necessary material, technical and legal support. After verification, seven representatives of the Federal Fishery Agency were brought to disciplinary responsibility. The supervisory authorities have previously talked about the problems voiced by the Prosecutor General’s Office. PASMI understood what was happening in the fishing industry and how Rosrybolovstvo controls the situation.

Japan for its

The activities of the Federal Agency for Fishery have repeatedly criticized the Federal Antimonopoly Service of Russia. So, in early 2019, the office of Igor Artemyev completed the consideration of the case of violation of antimonopoly legislation by the Russian Fishery Agency. The regulator came to the conclusion that the inaction of agency officials prevented Russian fishing companies from claiming the prey of ivashi, mackerel and anchovies in the exclusive economic zone of Japan.

Rosrybolovstvo accepted applications from Russian fish producers and had to notify Japanese colleagues of fish claimants in the Japanese EEZ. However, of the five applications received by the agency, only three were promptly managed to be sent to Japan, the rest were delayed for two weeks. As a result, all fish quotas were divided between the three applicants.

A similar case was filed by antimonopoly officers in 2014. According to the FAS, instead of independently distributing fishing quotas in the EEZ of the Kingdom of Morocco by Russian companies, the agency transferred these powers to its subsidiary, Federal State Unitary Enterprise National Fish Resource. According to the FAS, this could lead to a restriction of competition and an unfair order of distribution of quotas.

Money nowhere

Repeatedly reported problems in the work of the Federal Agency for Fishery and the Court of Accounts. In the course of the last inspection of the Ministry of Agriculture in May 2019, auditors revealed violations in the management of agency revenues, the implementation of the Russian-Japanese intergovernmental agreements, as well as in the area of ​​procurement and management of federal property.

The specific figures in the report of the Office of Alexei Kudrin were not cited, in contrast to the results of the verification activities held in 2013. Then the Accounts Chamber found violations in spending the budget by the Russian Fishery Agency in the total amount of 101.2 million rubles.

They should be aware of:
- Russian President Vladimir Putin
- Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev
- The head of the Ministry of Agriculture Dmitry Patrushev.

Whale scandal

In November 2018, it became known that Primorye in captivity is more than a hundred killer whales and beluga whales. The animals were planned to be exported from Russia to China for sale. According to Greenpeace, in the past five years, 15 belugas sold to the Celestial Empire. The scandal received a powerful public outcry, but began to release animals only during the “Straight Line with Vladimir Putin” on June 20, after more than half a year of keeping in the “whale prison”.

Vladivostok environmental prosecutor's office, which studied the case, found violations by the Federal Agency for Fishery. Illegal fishing of animals and orders of the Federal Agency for Fishery, which distributed quotas for catching killer whales and beluga whites, was also recognized by the court in Sakhalin.

By the way, this is not the first story of the sale of belugas to the Middle Kingdom. In 2016, the Auditors of the Accounts Chamber caught on the illegal trade of belugas a subordinate institution of the Federal Agency for Fishery “TINRO-Center”, which sold cetaceans to China. The organization earned more than 40 million rubles on these transactions.

According to the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation, with the permission of the Russian Fishery Agency, industrial fishing is actually conducted for cultural and scientific purposes under the guise of capturing marine mammals.

“Subsequently, individuals are simply transported out of the country,” said Anatoly Palamarchuk, head of the main department for supervising the implementation of federal legislation of the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation. According to him, the fate of about 4,000 Red Book animals that were caught in Russian waters in 2016–2018 for traveling exhibitions and dolphinariums is still unknown.

Crab affair

Another scandalous story about Rosrybolovstvo ended a month ago. May 1, 2019, Vladimir Putin signed the law on the redistribution of quotas for the extraction of crabs. The media wrote that the new rules were adopted in favor of the Russian Fishery Company (RRPK), the beneficiaries of which are the son-in-law of Gennady Timchenko Gleb Frank and the brother of the Moscow Region Governor Maxim Vorobyov.

Previously, the distribution of quotas among market participants was based on the so-called historical principle - quotas were prioritized for those entrepreneurs who had previously worked on this or that territory. In return, businessmen were to invest in the construction of new fishing vessels or processing plants. Permission to catch was given for 10 years, and for construction by the court and enterprises were given for three years.
According to the new rules, quotas are distributed through auctions. Now they give out for 15 years, and the term of fulfillment of obligations has been increased to 5 years. These changes occurred right after the RRPK became interested in catching crab in the Far East. First, the business of the so-called “crab king” Oleg Kahn, the main market player in crab mining in Russia, was defeated. The entrepreneur fled from prosecution to Korea, and his ships were arrested. After the discussion, a change in legislation began, which ended on May 1 with the signing of the law by Vladimir Putin.

After that, the media drew attention to a possible conflict of interest between the RRPK and Rosrybolovstvo. The fact is that the current deputy head of the department Petr Savchuk used to work as a top manager in the RRPK, which turned out to be the main beneficiary as a result of the adoption of the law. By a strange coincidence, at the same time, the RRPK was able to avoid a routine inspection of the Rosrybolovstvo all fishing companies.

“We didn’t have to check the indicated companies, as they carry out fishing in the exclusively economic zone and are checked by the border service. We check only those who damage aquatic biological resources in inland waters and the territorial sea, ”Ilya Shestakov, head of the Federal Agency for Fishery, commented on this coincidence.

Kamchatka confusion

In the Kamchatka Territory, the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation found out that officials of the Northeastern Territorial Administration of the Federal Agency for Fishery issued permission to catch pollock for the entire calendar year, without taking into account the time limits for fishing. The head of the Interregional Rosrybolovstvo Alexander Khristenko received several submissions from the prosecutor's office, but ignored the claims of the department. Then the Prosecutor General's Office began to sue with the management of the agency, but lost until the case reached the Supreme Court. The latter canceled all decisions of the Kamchatka courts, and recognized the actions of the regional Rosrybolovstvo illegal.

Indigenous peoples of Kamchatka repeatedly complained about Rosrybolovstvo. In February 2019, they wrote a letter to President Vladimir Putin, claiming that the agency allegedly refused to issue fishing permits in their native land. However, the source PASMI believes that the problem with the ban on fishing for Kamchatka residents is artificial. According to the interlocutor, unscrupulous fishermen, without having permission for industrial fishing, are engaged in illegal prey in Kamchatka. To avoid punishment, poachers talk about the harassment of fishermen by law enforcement agencies and the Federal Agency for Fishery.

Two from the market

In April 2019, the President of the All-Russian Association of Fisheries Enterprises, Entrepreneurs and Exporters (VARPE), German Zverev, criticized the work of the Russian Fishery Agency. According to him, the agency does not cope with the timely publication of legal acts to regulate the industry and “cleansing” excessive administrative barriers.
“In 2016, a new version of the law“ On Fisheries ”was adopted. The law provided for the issuance of 25 bylaws, seven of which were adopted with a significant delay. The Fishery Rules for the Far Eastern Fisheries Basin have not yet been approved, ”said the President of VARPE.

PASMI contacted Valentin Balashov, Chairman of the Board of the Interregional Association of Coastal Fishermen of the Northern Basin. “According to the quality of the preparation of regulatory legal acts, the Federal Fishery Agency should put two plus. It seems that the younger guys came to the office, and begin to invent notions, the farther into the forest, the more firewood. After the agency adopts any bylaws, they have to be urgently adjusted, ”said the source. He cited as an example 503 a resolution of the government of the Russian Federation concerning permits for the right to fish.

“The rules were so ineptly worked out that six months had to be proved that mistakes were made. As a result, the government has changed the rule. But it managed to affect hundreds of companies. Enterprises simply could not get work permits, ”explains Balashov.

The interviewee also called the catch initiative for fishermen a problematic initiative on daily allowances: “I’m wondering how [in the Federal Agency for Fishery] are they going to control it? Fisherman came to the river, fishes happy. You tell him: you have 400 grams more than you need. A man will say: I caught two days. How will you prove in the forest that he caught it in one day, and we have 2 million such citizens ”.

According to Balashov, the most painful for fishing companies was the initiative to create auctions for the distribution of fishing quotas. “FAS says that market competition is weak. It is proposed to play half of the quotas at auctions. But the thing is this. The largest players from Moscow will buy the quotas. And local enterprises, for example, in the North Basin with two steamers and a collective of 300 people, will be forced to reduce the volume of staff, or to go bankrupt, ”explains the source.

“Then they ask why the fish is expensive?” Because, in particular, mistakes are made in the regulatory framework, ”Balashov concluded.