- With the world’s fourth-longest coastline, access to the landlocked Caspian Sea, and more than 2 million rivers, Russia’s fishing industry is one of the most important worldwide. Annually, Russia harvests more than 3 million tons of fish, with the salmon, cod, char, whitefish, pollock, halibut, and flounder hauls being the largest. The Russian fishing fleet is currently estimated at 2,500 vessels, including nearly 50 factory ships. The majority of the catch is exported to East Asian markets. Caviar, collected from Caspian and other sturgeons, is a historically important cash crop; however, the stocks are severely depleted. Poaching has emerged as a major problem; illegal sales of caviar are estimated at $40 million per year. In 2005, the federal government passed the law “On Fisheries and Protection of Aquatic Biological Resources” to regulate commercial, recreational, and indigenous fishing practices. Overfishing, marine pollution, and warming temperatures in the Arctic Ocean bode poorly for the future of the industry.
Historical Dictionary of the Russian Federation. Robert A. Saunders and Vlad Strukov. 2010.
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