Reform of the fishery industry of Ukraine presented

Ukraine’s fisheries sector has the potential to generate billions of hryvnias in profit for entrepreneurs and millions for the state budget. However, it has not yet become a source of income for the state. Recently, more than half of the catch of aquatic resources has remained in the shadows, and the country’s budget has missed out on millions of hryvnias in taxes.

The Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine, together with the State Agency of Ukraine for Development of Melioration, Fisheries and Food Programs and the Better Regulation Delivery Office (BRDO) with the support of the project Digital Transformation Activity (DTA), presented the reform of Ukraine’s fisheries sector. The main stakeholders of the process were invited to the presentation: representatives of businesses and government officials, as well as Ukrainian and international experts in the field, parliamentarians, and the media. Further details about the achievements presented during the event and the reformers’ plans are outlined below.

The reform of the fisheries sector, initiated in 2023 by the Ministry of Agrarian Policy and the State Fisheries Agency in collaboration with the Ministry of Digital Transformation and BRDO with the support of the USAID/UK aid project “Transparency and Accountability in Public Administration and Services/TAPAS,” introduces systemic changes in the industry.

“The main vectors of implementation of the reform of the fishing industry are European integration, digitalization, and deregulation,” — noted in his speech Vitalii Holovnia, Deputy Minister of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine. “The goal of the reform is to introduce a transparent market and equal conditions for all its participants, as well as to reduce corruption risks.”

“Each sector of the fishing industry – industrial fishing, aquaculture, and recreational fishing – are independent areas of fishing, but they cannot exist without each other. Therefore, measures to reform the industry will be successful only if they are comprehensive in nature, ensuring a positive effect and benefits for all of its components,” said Ihor Klymenok, Acting Head of the State Fisheries Agency.

One of the key elements of the reform of the industry is digitization, which was initiated by the adoption of Law No. 2989-IX. The document finally established electronic auctions for the right to special use of aquatic bioresources in fishery water bodies. The competitive sale of contracts guarantees every business equal access to a common natural resource. In this way, the industry is demonopolized, and the market comes out of the shadows. Figures to confirm: in 2023, electronic auctions brought 95 million hryvnias to the state and local budgets, in the first two months of 2024 – 45 million hryvnias. Before the reform, the amount of revenues for special use did not exceed 13 million hryvnias per year.

In addition to auctions, the document introduced the Unified State Electronic Management System for the Fisheries Industry – eRyba, thanks to which entrepreneurs will be able to receive government services and permits online.

Danylo Molchanov, Chief of Party at the USAID / UK Dev Digital Transformation Activity, noted: “Digitalization is one of the most effective ways to fight corruption, which creates equal opportunities for business and helps fill the state budget. That is why international partners support the reform of the Ukrainian fishery. The reform aims to improve the processes of interaction between the state and business, as well as to destroy monopolies in access to aquatic biological resources and thus promote its development.

The heart of the reform is the eRyba digital platform, the further development of which will be supported by the USAID / UK Dev Digital Transformation Activity. We expect that the introduction of all components of the system will contribute to the transparency of procedures, the deregulation of outdated requirements and the simplification of doing business, and therefore the development of Ukrainian entrepreneurship, as well as the growth of tax revenues, which are so important for the economy of Ukraine today.”

During the event, international partners assured Ukraine of further support for systemic changes in the fisheries sector. Currently, the Government is planning the next steps to combat the illegal circulation of aquatic biological resources and combat shadow business.

“Our task is to ensure 100% traceability of aquatic biological resources. Among the key principles is zero tolerance for corruption in the industry and the creation of transparent conditions for SMEs’ access to natural resources, noted Oleksii Dorohan, CEOr of BRDO. – Our team has developed draft laws that will ensure traceability of products, as well as multi-year planning for the management of the fishery industry, collection, and summarization of data on the indicators of the implementation of fishery activities, the development of scientific activities in the sector and the implementation of the legislation of the European Union. Their adoption will contribute to the development of the industry and open foreign markets to Ukrainian manufacturers.” For the EU, Ukraine can become a leading exporter of fish and mariculture, but for this the reform of the industry must continue.

The recording of the online broadcast of the presentation of the reform is available at the link: