A “Resources” roundtable is held at GFF 2018

On 14 September, a roundtable under the title “Resources” was held as part of the Global Fishery Forum. Leading world scientists discussed the global forecasts for aquatic bioresources up to 2050, the long-term risks for global fishing and aquaculture: climate change and manmade impact, the role of international co-operation in regulating and maintaining bioresources, and the interest of business in long-term partnership.

The moderator, Mikhail Glubokovskiy, scientific head of FGBNU VNIRO, noted that discussion is needed today of the opportunities for impacting on the illegal, unregulated and unregistered industry, the role of international fishing organization capable of a “benefit” and a “big brother” for the industry.

Vladimir Radchenko, Executive Director, NPAFC, gave a report on “Salmon 2050: probable scenarios”. Today, 170 million tonnes of fish are produced in the world every year. The volume of salmon produced globally and the trade in salmon are growing by about 10% per annum. According to the FAO, in 2017, the salmon trade took first place in the world.

The expert’s data indicate that, since 2010, the corridor favourable to salmon migration has been deteriorating. “Under the unfavourable conditions, the survival of salmon is becoming sensitive to the industry, too”, V. Radchenko stated. In his opinion, the industry requires additional regulation. He also noted that the role of aquaculture will grow on the salmon market.  “Until 2050, the increase in the output of salmon, in the absence of stable growth of the catch of natural resources, will be provided for by aquaculture”, the expert noted.

Honourable representative of the Pacific Biological Institute Dr. Richard Beamish stated that science would help save salmon in the future. The International Year of the Salmon, which will be launched on 15 September as part of the third day of the GFF 2018, will help pinpoint the reasons for the fall in the numbers of salmon in the world. “The ocean is getting warmer and fish are migrating less. Yet the real reasons for the declining of population numbers in certain regions must be identified by science, the research being at least partially supported by business, the private sector”, he noted.

According to Richard Beamish, international experts may be involved to study the salmon situation off Alaska, no such studies having yet been performed. Prof. Beamish believes that Russian scientists must take part in the studies, as they have tremendous experience of studying salmon types. “The research will provide the basis for improving salmon population regulation mechanisms”, he added.

The importance of scientific research was also mentioned at the roundtable by Jan Arge Jacobsen, Faroe Marine Research Institute. It is specifically science that will help countries competently distribute fishing. The first principles for distributing stocks were used back in 1978. “Account must also be taken of the scientific research data and the influence of commercial fishing, as well as other factors, and management decisions must be taken on the basis of reasoned analysis”, he said.

The prospects for and risks of the Russian fishing industry were described by Senior Deputy Director of FGBNU VNIRO Oleg Bulatov. He reminded those present that scientists are not currently agreed about the climate: some say that human impact is the main factor, while other say that natural processes are cyclical and repeat themselves. “At the moment, we are observing a new period of “renaissance” of far eastern sardines and the next “salmon age” will begin in 2050. Given the large-scale climate changes, the significance of Russia’s northern regions – the Bering Sea and the northern part of the Sea of Okhotsk, might change, too. Capelin might take the place of cod as the dominant species”, the expert said.

He predicts that, by 2035, in connection with climate change, the numbers and catch of pollock might go down, this constituting one of the greatest risks for the Russian fishing industry. At the same time, the role of Sakhalin-Hokkaido herring might increase in the far-eastern industry.

“Most likely, by 2035, the catch situation will remain close to the 2018 level, but with different proportions of fish species. In general, we assess optimistically the prospects for 2035 and 2050 and do not believe the total catch will go down”, the speaker announced.

Takashi Koya, Chief Fisheries Coordinator, Fisheries Agency Government of Japan, spoke about the problems of and prospects for controlling aquatic bioresources in Japan. The Japanese fishing industry holds one of the leasing positions in the world, but the country’s active fishing zones are shrinking and imports are growing. According to the expert, the Japanese government’s priorities are to transform the production model, restore fish resources in the region. Japan is expecting a growth of gross volume, an increase in the restoration rate of the main types of fish by 2050 several times over, and attainment of the target indicators. “Efforts must be joined with other countries, including Russia, otherwise there will be no results”, he noted.

The experts agreed that international co-operation is the key factor in achieving global food security.