Russians will be banned from taking more than 10 kg of red caviar from Kamchatka by plane

Russians may be banned from exporting Kamchatka red caviar from the region weighing more than 10 kg, made in a non-industrial way, in hand luggage or aircraft luggage. A draft federal law providing for such an experiment from the date of its entry into force until August 1, 2025, was prepared by a group of State Duma deputies. The text of the bill is at the disposal of “Vedomosti”. Its authenticity was confirmed by one of its authors, a member of the State Duma Committee on Agrarian Affairs Sergei Lisovsky. He expects that the bill will be considered and adopted in the spring session.

According to the document, the ban will apply to salmon caviar without factory packaging. It must “contain a single mark of circulation of products on the market of the Eurasian Economic Union and contact details of the manufacturer, sole proprietor or importer.” The bill also provides for amendments to the Air Code. In particular, air carriers will have to include a ban on the export of more than 10 kg of red caviar by one individual per flight in the air traffic regulations. Flights to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky are operated by Aeroflot, and tickets for June are also sold by Ifly charter airline. According to the document, compliance with the ban will be monitored by the aviation security service of the Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky International Airport (Elizovo) during the pre-flight inspection of luggage and hand luggage.

Legislators conclude that large volumes of products, including those caught illegally, are transported through the air corridor. The closure of this canal will reduce illegal fishing, avoid undermining Pacific salmon populations and reduce the risk of consuming unsafe fish products, according to an explanatory note to the bill. During the salmon Putin in 2021, 539,000 tons of salmon were harvested in the Far Eastern fisheries basin, of which 440,500 tons in the Kamchatka Territory, it said. According to the governor of this region Vladimir Solodov, quoted in the note, the average annual “shadow” air supply of caviar is 2000 tons. Passengers carry in personal luggage, according to Rosselkhoznadzor, more than 500 tons of such products. To produce it in such quantities, poachers annually destroy more than 15,000 tons of raw salmon, the explanatory note said.

The turnover of the “shadow market” of red caviar exceeds 4 billion rubles, according to statistics of the government of the Kamchatka Territory, the president of the All-Russian Association of Fishermen (VARPE) Herman Zverev. Based on the established taxes, the annual damage to the Russian Federation is more than 15 billion rubles, it is estimated in the explanatory note.

Market players estimate the illegal turnover of caviar in thousands of tons, says the chairman of the Fisheries Union Alexander Panin. He, like Zverev, supports the adoption of the bill. Such an experiment is the right and long overdue measure, as the air channel is used by poachers to move their illegal catches, which supports their fishing and does not promote open competition in the sale of such products in central Russia, explains Panin. At the same time, according to him, poachers engaged in the production of caviar, cut fish. “It, as the most expensive product (4500 – 5000 rubles per 1 kg), is removed, and salmon (250 rubles per kg) rots on the shores, thus undermining the reproductive resource,” – he explains.

Panin adds that this problem is especially relevant in the Amur and Sakhalin rivers, where there are almost no fish left. According to him, entrepreneurs who buy stolen caviar sell it at retail, including in markets and federal networks. At the same time, the necessary temperature regime for storage of such products is not observed during passenger air transportation, that is, it may be unsafe, he concluded.

Vedomosti sent inquiries to the Ministry of Agriculture, Rosrybolovstvo, Elizovo Airport, Aeroflot and Ifly.

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