Russian companies sign pact to lessen trawling impacts

16 November 2016

Several Russian fishing companies have signed an agreement to decrease the environmental impact of bottom trawling on the Barents and Norwegian seas, Norbeo, one of the companies involved, said in a release. 

The companies catch cod, haddock and another demersal species in the North Atlantic and include those represented by the Fishing Industry Union of the North (FIUN) as well as NOREBO Group (formerly known as KARAT Group), FEST Group and the Archangelsk Trawl Fleet.

The signatories met in Murmansk to sign the pact, known formally as the Agreement on Coordination of Activities of Fishing Companies to Decrease the Impact of Bottom Trawl Fishery on Ecosystems of the Barents Sea and Norwegian Sea.

The agreement's measures include:

  • A plan to develop a registration scheme for vessels that fish species found in vulnerable marine ecosystems (VMEs); 
  • Training crew members to register VME indicator species as benthic bycatch;
  • Map VME areas both within the existing fishing area and in new fishing areas; and,
  • Analyze the Russian fleet's fishing activity to see how bottom trawl fisheries interact with mapped VME areas.

The parties have also agreed to not expand their bottom trawl fisheries outside of areas that will be established in cooperation with Russian fishery research organizations.