Marine Fisheries

Russia has one of the longest coastlines on the planet (about 37,000 km, mainly along the Arctic Ocean). However, its two main marine fishing areas are limited in extent: the Barents Sea in the European north, and the Bering and Okhotsk Seas of the Pacific. During the Soviet period, heavy investments were made in harvesting ocean fish: Salmon, cod, pollock, hake, sardines, herring, and many others were harvested from the coastal waters of the U.S.S.R., the inner seas (Caspian, Aral, Black, Baltic), and all over the world's oceans. In the late 1980s, the Soviet Union was the leading fishing nation on earth, surpassing Japan, Peru, and China in both the volume of catch and the size of its fleet. By 2004, however, Russia had dropped to sixth place in the amount of total seafood catch from marine fisheries—behind China, Peru, the United States, Japan, and Indonesia, but slightly ahead of Norway—with about 2.6 mmt caught. The main source of seafood in Russia is the Pacific coast of the Far East (about two-thirds of the total catch). Besides salmon and salmon eggs, the Far East is famous for its crab production, especially along the western shores of Kamchatka Peninsula. Russian king crab is available in U.S. markets, but it has been recently flagged by the environmental organizations as a poor consumer choice because of widespread poaching. Among other FSU republics, only Ukraine and the Baltic states have marine fishing of consequence according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (see Websites). One area of potential growth for all countries is aquaculture; very little of it is currently practiced, mainly in the form of raising carp in ponds.