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a sector of the food industry engaged in the catching of fish, seals, whales, marine invertebrates, and seaweed and their processing into various types of food, medical, feed, and industrial products.
Fishing is one of the earliest forms of human production. The fishing industry arose as a sector of the food industry in the 17th century. In Russia the development of a fishing industry was aided by the building of railroads that made possible the transport of fish products to interior regions, by the expansion of river and coastal marine fisheries, and by the establishment of relatively large fish-salting enterprises. Fisheries were concentrated predominantly on rivers and in the Caspian Sea, the Sea of Azov, and the Aral Sea.
In 1913 these fisheries yielded 80.2 percent of Russia’s total catch; the open waters of the European North and the Pacific Ocean yielded the remaining 19.8 percent. Fishing techniques were extremely primitive and involved the use of small row-boats, large undecked rowboats and sailboats, open Japanese-type boats, and small sailing vessels. Even more backward were the fish-processing techniques, which were based on manual labor. The fishes, which were mainly salted, sun-cured, and dried, included such valuable species as sturgeon, salmon, and other large food fishes. Less than 10 percent of the species caught was refrigerated or frozen.
In the USSR, great opportunities opened up for the rational use of natural aquatic, particularly marine, resources and for the development of fish culture and fishing. The Soviet state developed the fishing industry on the basis of technical reequipping, concerning itself primarily with the mechanization of marine fishing and the improvement of fish-processing methods. During the period of the prewar five-year plans (1920–40), a fishing fleet was organized. It included special-purpose vessels, trawlers, seiners, drifters, small trawling boats, whaleboats, and sealers.
There was a significant increase in the size of the northern fleet of the Barents Sea, where Murmansk became a major center of the fishing industry. In the Far East a fleet of crabbing and whaling vessels was developed. By 1941 fishing had been developed in the seas of the North and the Far East. Along with the state fishing industry, an important role was played by fishing kolkhozes and motorized fishing stations (MFS). The fleet of the latter, which was established in 1932, increased in size 12.8 times between the time of its founding and 1940. Mechanized fishing accounted for 29.7 percent of the catch of the fishing kolkhozes in 1940.
Fundamental changes also occurred in the fish-processing industry, with the construction of refrigeration units, fish-filleting plants, and canneries. In the major centers of the fishing industry, fish combines were built with a complete production cycle ensuring maximum use of the raw materials.
Simultaneously with the development of production facilities, scientific institutes were established in the major fishing centers and in Moscow for marine fishing and oceanography. Higher and specialized secondary schools of the fishing industry were opened, and courses were provided to train personnel for the industry.
During the Great Patriotic War of 1941–45, the fascist German invaders caused enormous damage to the Soviet fishing industry. However, after the war the fishing industry was rapidly rebuilt. It was equipped with large fishing vessels, with special machinery that mechanized the basic catching and processing procedures, and with instruments for marine and oceanic fish-finding and for controlling the production processes.
Fishing in the open seas increased significantly, providing most of the catch (see Table 1). The development of new fishing grounds in the Barents Sea, in the Atlantic, off the coasts of Antarctica, in the Pacific, and in the seas of the Far East expanded the fishing base. More than 80 percent of the capital investments in the fishing industry went for organizing fishing in the open seas and oceans and for creating a modern industrial base for oceanic fisheries. The geographic location of the fishing industry changed, with a larger share of the raw materials being processed aboard the vessels.
The fish-processing industry grew, with its technical improvements paralleling those of the fish-catching industry. The Soviet fishing industry yields 2,000 different types of fish and marine products, including several dozen types of products prepared from squid and shrimp. In the fish-processing industry, fully mechanized procedures have been introduced for refrigerating, freezing, canning, and salting, as well as for the production of stuffing. New machines are being developed based on designs created by research organizations in the network of the Ministry of Fisheries of the USSR. In 1973 there were 30,000 units of production equipment, including 20,000 units aboard vessels. The value of the fixed productive assets for the Ministry of Fisheries in 1974 was more than 6 billion rubles. Major fishing ports have been developed at Vladivostok, Nakhodka, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskii, Kaliningrad, Klaipėda, Tallinn, and Sevastopol’. Table 2 shows the rapid development of fishing in the principal basins.
|Table 2. Catch of the fishing industry in the principal basins of the USSR (million quintals)|
|1The total includes not only the catch in the basins but also the catch by Union republics and other organizations|
|Western basin (Central Atlantic, Baltic Sea)||0.14||0.18||1.04||6.29||19.10||23.78|
|Far Eastern basin ................||3.05||3.22||4.84||8.61||26.12||32.8|
|Northern basin (North Atlantic, Barents Sea)||0.61||2.18||2.85||7.97||13.03||16.63|
|Azov-Black Sea basin .............||1.45||2.21||2.83||5.87||10.38||12.89|
|Caspian basin ..................||6.04||3.22||3.13||3.78||5.29||4.62|
In the base areas of the fleet ship-repair, machine-building, processing, and packaging enterprises have been established, as have refrigeration units. The fleet itself has been constantly enlarged and technically improved. The most recent advances in shipbuilding and in the manufacture of fish-processing equipment and fishing gear are introduced into the design and construction of vessels. Research vessels and institutes of the fishing industry and of oceanography conduct valuable studies in fish biology, catching and processing methods, economics, the mechanization and automation of processes, and the elaboration of rational fishing principles and recommendations for the natural and artificial reproduction of the fish stocks.
The number of industrial-production personnel in the fishing industry in 1974 was 346,000; the number of specialists with a higher and specialized secondary education was 74,000 as of Nov. 15, 1973.
The USSR cooperates in international agreements concerning fishing. Particularly close ties have arisen among the countries of the socialist community. Within COMECON (Council for Mutual Economic Assistance), on the basis of concluded treaties, plans for the development of the fishing industry are coordinated, and joint research programs are carried out.
Among foreign socialist countries, the catch of the fishing industry in 1974 was 7,574,000 tons in the People’s Republic of China (1973, including Taiwan), 800,000 tons in the People’s Democratic Republic of Korea (1973), 582,000 tons in Poland, 326,000 tons in the German Democratic Republic, 150,000 tons in Cuba (1973), 128,000 tons in Rumania, 109,000 tons in Bulgaria, 54,200 tons in Yugoslavia, 15,900 tons in Hungary, and 15,200 tons in Czechoslovakia (1973).
Among capitalist countries, the catch in 1973 was 10.7 million tons in Japan, 3.0 million tons in Norway, 2.7 million tons in the United States, 2.3 million tons in Peru, 2.0 million tons in India, and 1.7 million tons in Thailand.
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Moiseev, P. A. Biologicheskie resursy mirovogo okeana. Moscow, 1969.
Bogorov, V. G. Zhizn’ okeana. Moscow, 1969.
Zaitsev, V. P. Pishchevye resursy morei i okeanov. Moscow, 1972.
Kuz’michev, A. B. “Mirovoe rybolovstvo v 1972 g.” Rybnoe khoziaistvo, no. 7, 1974.
A. A. ISHKOV