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Russian Fishery, PCA court showdown over MSC pollock exclusion pushed back

  • November 26, 2020

A legal showdown between Russian Fishery Company (RFC) and the country’s Pollock Catchers Association (PCA) over the former’s right to sell Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified fish has been pushed back.

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A trial was set to occur on Nov. 26 in a Russian Far East court but has been pushed back to Dec. 21, both RFC and the PCA confirmed to Undercurrent News. Alexey Buglak, president of the PCA, declined to comment further on the case.

He did, however, clarify how the Russian legal process works. “The court process can include three stages. Firstly, an arbitrary trial. Then there can be an appeal trial. And there is third final instance of cassation appeal,” he said.

At each stage, there is a 30-day period for an appeal. “The final decision comes into force after all stages, or if an appeal is not filed within the provided timeline,” Buglak said.

RFC is taking legal action against the PCA over its September expulsion from the group. PCA is the client body for the MSC certification of the Russian Sea of Okhotsk (SOO) fishery, so it controls the MSC-approved vessel list. As previously reported by Undercurrent, RFC’s companies were removed from the latest list, dated Sept. 29.

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Russian Fishery Company Russian pollock

However, RFC claims an interim injunction (read a translation here and the Russian original here) from the Far East court dated Oct. 26 means it should remain a PCA member until the matter is resolved. So, the PCA should permit RFC to use the MSC certificate, it claims. This is contingent on the PCA updating the approved vessel list, which has not yet happened.

“We also look forward to the prompt execution of the court ruling on interim measures by the defendant, despite the delay in such execution,” RFC told Undercurrent

The company’s spokesperson declined to comment on what further action RFC is taking to make PCA follow the interim injunction. RFC has also started an independent MSC process for its operations in the SOO with Lloyd’s Register, also the certification body for the PCA fishery.

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