Russia prepares to auction off 10-year crab quotas

Last year's quota auction brought the country's treasury a record RUB 6.4 billion.

Rosrybolovstvo, Russia's federal fisheries agency, will hold a quota auction for crab fishing in the Far Eastern fishery basin May 18-19, giving harvesting rights for a nearly 10-year period.

The quotas will entail all major crab species, including red king crab, blue king crab, opilio snow crab, brown king crab, bairdi snow crab, hairy crab in the Primorye subarea, the South-Kuril zone, the Petropavlovsk-Commander zone, and the Kamchatka-Kuril subzones, the agency said.

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There will be 24 crab lots at the auction, starting at a value of RUB 1.516 million (€25.4 million/$26.9 million) in total for 4,780 metric tons of crab.

The winners of the auction will get quotas for crab harvesting until the end of 2026.

In accordance with the Russian fishery auction rules, applicants of the upcoming crab auction must be registered in one of the three coastal regions of the Russian Federation -- Primorskiy Krai, Sakhalin Oblast or Kamchatka Krai -- in order to buy crab quotas in the waters of their region.

Last year, a crab auction held in late March brought Russia’s treasury a record amount of RUB 6.4 billion (€83.1 million/$94.1 million) for 5,000 metric tons of crab quota.

According to the Association of the Russian Far Eastern Crab Catchers, there are around 60 domestic companies involved in crab harvesting in Russia’s Far East, operating more than 90 vessels.

In 2016, Russia’s overall crab harvest in the Far East reached 57,000 metric tons.

Around 90 percent of the total crab harvests were exported to China, Korea and Japan.

In 2017, the total allowable catch (TAC) for crab harvesting in Russia’s Far East is set at 73,500 metric tons, nearly 7,000 metric tons more than the previous year.

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