In early 2023, the Ukrainian fishing industry has undergone significant changes that concerned the issuance of commercial fishing permits. The Resolution of the Government of Ukraine No. 1479 dated 30.12.2022 introduced a new procedure for obtaining the rights to carry out commercial fishing, according to which the sale of these rights was to be conducted though auctions by the way of electronic bidding.
During a webinar co-hosted on 12 January 2023 by the Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine, the State Fisheries Agency of Ukraine, and Prozzoro.Sale – a state-owned enterprise managed by Ukraine’s Ministry of Economy, Deputy Minister of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine Vitalii Holovnia stated: “One of the main goals of the experimental project on conducting auctions for the sale of the right to the special use of aquatic biological resources implementation is the transparency of the registration of this right, honest and effective competition of industrial fishermen, the opportunity to join the fishing business for new participants, the exclusion of individuality, the elimination of corruption risks and the rational use of aquatic biological resources in the country as a whole. An analysis of the situation in recent years has shown that only “traditional” fishermen – those who have been on the market for more than 3 years and reached a catch rate of 75% could carry out commercial fishing. Delving into history, we see a negative trend, where the number of ‘traditional’ fishermen in the market has been decreasing year by year. For instance, in 2014 there were 527 commercial fishermen, and in 2018 their number dropped to 432. At the same time, there has been a rise in the number of applications from ‘new’ fishermen wishing to join the business and conduct fishing operations at designated fisheries. However, the actual catch yields tended to fall below the officially established fish capture limits, which meant that budget revenues were decreasing. Having analyzed this situation in a comprehensive manner, we made the proposal that auctions should be introduced in order to turn the negative dynamics into positive, rejuvenate the commercial fishing sector, ensure that [Ukraine] fulfills its European integration commitments, and eliminate corruption”.
Slide from the 12 January 2023 webinar on commercial fishing auctions. [Source: https://darg.gov.ua/_promislove_ribaljstvo_cherez_0_0_0_12291_1.html]
During the webinar, commercial fishermen had an opportunity to learn about the new auction procedure in detail, and discuss its various aspects. It was also noted that potential users of aquatic bioresources will have the opportunity to test the submission of applications through the appropriate simulator on the website of SE “Prozoro.Prodazhi” and get acquainted with the necessary useful tips.
Ihor Klymenok, Acting Head of the State Fisheries Agency, remarked: “The regulation of the commercial fishing industry at the stage of acquiring rights to use aquatic bioresources is a significant change that has affected one of the most important areas of fishing in Ukraine. Initiatives like this give fishermen real grounds to work under the principles of transparency and fair competition, rather than do shady business. This is the beginning of a reform that should give push to an evolution of the fishing industry. Both the society and the realities of today require us to make some changes. The fishing business needs to be renewed and rebooted, since fish is a strategic product that is consumed by a large number of people. We will continue to take all necessary measures to bring up the efficiency level of the fishing industry, ensuring full transparency at all stages”.
Klymenok also noted that the auctions will be organized in order of priority, taking into account the seasonality of each type of fish and other aquatic life, as well as the accessibility of water bodies for commercial fishing dependent on whether they have been affected by the military aggression of the russian federation against Ukraine.