27 March 2013
South Africa and Russia have signed a statement of intent on cooperation in fisheries.
The agreement was one of nine signed between ministers from the two countries in a ceremony in Durban on Tuesday marking Russian President Vladimir Putin’s second official visit to South Africa.
Putin is in South Africa to attend the 5th BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) summit, which got under way on Tuesday.
“As South Africa hosts the 5th Brics summit, there is mounting pressure on us to not just have a talk shop,” said Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson. “We have to gear our energy towards ensuring that the agreements that we sign among our partners will be converted into action.”
Joemat-Pettersson said the fisheries agreement would benefit South Africa in a number of ways, including building the country’s human capital through training, and combating poaching, which has “major repercussions for the sustainability of our resources”.
The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said the statement of intent “recognises the importance of technical and economic cooperation among developing countries through the exchange of information, experience and research in the field of fisheries”.
Currently, South Africa exports no fisheries products to Russia, despite fisheries being a major contributor to the country’s economy.
Addressing the media following his meeting with President Jacob Zuma on Tuesday, Putin noted that intra-trade between South Africa and Russia had increased by 66.3 percent in 2012. In 2011, total trade turnover between South Africa and the Russian Federation increased by 6.42% in 2009, from US$484-million to $517-million.