Fisheries have always played a significant role in providing the country with food, supplying the raw materials to the related sectors of the national economy, and increasing the level of employment.
Difficult economic and political situation in the country, deterioration of the ecological status of reservoirs, lack of long-term planning in the industry, the insufficient work on the reproduction of fish stocks led to a significant decline in production of marketable fish, catch of aquatic biological resources in inland waters and the Azov and Black Seas. In 1991, the total catch of aquatic bio resources estimated more than 900 thousand tons, in 2000 this figure decreased to 350 thousand tons, and in 2016, 88.4 thousand tons were harvested (caught). As a result, consumption of fish products by the population of Ukraine decreased from 17.5 kg per capita in 2008 to 14.6 kg in 2013 and 10.8 kg in 2017. However, the lion's share of fish products is imported, which is 75% of domestic consumption. In 2017, the volume of imports of fish and fish products increased by 9.6% and amounted to 327.8 thousand tons.
The fish industry of Ukraine remains almost the last branch of agriculture, where a significant part of the products is not produced by a man, but is removed from the natural environment.
Therefore, rapid and effective reform of the industry is a precondition for its development. In view of that, a working group of experts in collaboration with Dargo, IAPP, expert and scientific circles, associations of producers of fish products developed a draft Strategy for the development of the fishing industry in Ukraine until 2023, which is currently at the last stage of approval by the state executive bodies. The strategy determines the strategic directions of state fisheries policy in the context of adaptation of Ukrainian legislation to the legislation of the European Union, introduction of new production standards, and is aimed at creating favorable conditions for sustainable development, increasing production of competitive fish products and ensuring the country's food security.
The strategy outlines the main directions of the sector's reform, in particular: formation of an effective public administration system in fishing industry; promoting creation of self-regulatory associations of the fisheries entities, including the transfer of certain functions to them; creation of an effective mechanism for coordination of the activities of the state authorities, civil society institutions, employers' unions and unions in solving common socio-economic issues; prevention and fight against illegal, indiscriminate and unregulated fishing; introduction of the system of partly paid amateur and sport fishing for reproduction of fish stocks; introduction of mechanisms to reduce the cost of forage for aquaculture and fuel and lubricants for vessels of the fleet of the fishing industry; establishment of a system for extracting bio resources by economic entities in proportion to the volume of their reproduction; promoting the development of scientific institutions and introduction of innovative technologies in the industry.
Strategy implementation will increase production of aquatic biological resources from 92.6 thousand tons to 180 thousand tons per year, increase consumption of fish products to 15 kg per capita per year, reduce corruption risks in the industry, reduce the level of import dependence, increase competitiveness of domestic fish products; approximate legislation of Ukraine related to fishing industry to the legislation of the European Union.