The Russian Far East (RFE) Crab FIP is industry-led and, consequently, the Supply Chain Roundtable confines its activities to tracking and monitoring the fisheries and related improvement objectives and to providing advice to the market as required.
In terms of their commercial value, there are at least eight species of king and snow crabs in the Russian Far East (RFE) fisheries basin. Annual total allowable catch (TAC) for all crab species in recent years remains at 50,000-60,000 metric tons, but it is staged to grow up to 70,000 metric tons.
RFE crab is harvested primarily for export to countries including Japan, South Korea, the United States, China, Canada, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan. The majority of these exports are to the first three countries: live and frozen crabs are provided to Japan and South Korea, and the United States receives frozen crabs, as well as a relatively small amount of canned crab.
Since the early 1990s, the fishery has been plagued with illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing. However, in recent years many important steps have been taken by the Russian government, in cooperation with the fishing industry, to address IUU fishing. The RFE Crab Catchers Association (CCA) was formed to unite regional fishing companies in combatting IUU fishing and promoting the sustainability of crab resources. Estimates for rates of illegal fishing have gone down dramatically since 2008.
The T75 sector report for coldwater crab details the state of the sector. Based on 2014 production data, 182,000 tonnes, or 44 percent of global production, are considered sustainable or improving, using publicly available information on MSC status and FIP progress ratings reviewed in early October 2017.
The primary target fisheries for improvement are those in FIPs not making good progress, those that existing supply chain roundtable participants have already identified as of-interest, and those that SFP believes are likely candidates for improvement projects. These fisheries account for 88,000 tonnes of production, 21 percent of the global total.
Fisheries and/or FIPs Covered:
At present, the roundtable focuses on the main fisheries for blue, golden, red king and queen, tanner, and triangle snow crabs in fishing zones of the Northern Sea of Okhotsk, West Kamchatka, Kamchatka Kurils, Petropavlovsk Komandor, Karaginsk, North & South Kurils, and Western Bering Sea.
The following FIP is supported and monitored:
In general, the objectives of the RFE Crab Supply Chain Roundtable (SR) focus on monitoring sustainability status and issues relating to RFE crab stocks, and discussing actions required to engage local producers and the supply chain in the work on fisheries improvements, in order to ensure long-term availability of RFE crab on domestic and international markets.
The RFE Crab Supply Chain Roundtable (SR) recognizes the improvements to fisheries management made over recent years, in particular the progress via the RFE Crab Fishery Improvement Project.
However, there are a number of long-standing issues (e.g., fisheries data disclosure and access) that are the responsibility of governments and regulators, where industry can essentially only support and encourage change.
Consequently, the roundtable confines its activities to tracking and monitoring the fisheries and FIP, as well as providing advice to the market as required. Until the above issues have been adequately addressed, the following procurement policies are recommended:
- Source and verify product from the existing FIP.
- Adopt procedures (e.g., control document) to avoid IUU product.
- Advise existing and potential suppliers regarding the requirement for data transparency/disclosure in supporting publicly recognized FIPs.
A summary of the SR's past progress updates can be found here.
If you would like more information about the Supply Chain Roundtable or wish to support it, please contact SFP.