The 48th Estonian-Russian Fisheries Commission general meeting is set to take place online this year. While in previous years, a range of issues related to cooperation between the two countries' fishing industries were discussed, in this year's meeting, there will be no room for items not included on the pre-arranged agenda.
According to Margus Salundi, chief specialist at the Ministry of Environment's Fisheries Department, the 48th session of the Estonian-Russian Fishery Commission will be held on Zoom this year, in a call hosted by Estonia.
"Estonia has already informed Russia that due to its military aggression against Ukraine, it does not consider it possible to hold the meeting on Estonian territory," said Salundi, adding that, during the meeting, they expect to only discuss those issues agreed to in advance.
"In 2022 the Estonian delegation will be represented by the Head of the Ministry of the Environment's Fisheries Department and will be ready to discuss only the items on the draft agenda," said Salundi. Traditionally, the delegation has been headed by the deputy secretary general of the Ministry of the Environment, with the agenda additionally allowing for broader discussion on topics related to cooperation.
"This year, Estonia does not wish to discuss any issues with Russia other than those concerning the conservation and management of fish stocks in the Peipus (lake) and the continuation of activities related to these issues over the coming year," Salundi said.
The meeting has also been held on Zoom for the last two years due to Covid restrictions.
At this year's meeting, Estonian and Russian scientists will agree on a plan for science-based fishing in Lake Peipus, which is to be carried out independently of each other over the next twelve months.
"Prior to the meeting, scientists on the other side will present the results of their own research, which will then be used as a basis for recommendations to the (Estonian-Russian) Fisheries Commission regarding the setting of quotas and fishing regimes for the following year," explained Salundi. From then on, the parties will provide each other with catch data on a monthly basis via e-mail.
The 48th meeting of the Estonian-Russian Fisheries Commission will take place this week from Monday until Wednesday.
Editor: Michael Cole