This article presents a description of the background material, and analyses used by UNEP-GIWA for the assessment of the Russian seas. It gives an overview of the development of fisheries over the last 100 years in the 2 Russian seas, the Barents and the Azov Sea. The major stages of fisheries development in the Barents and in the Azov Seas and the main reasons for their decreasing productivity are discussed. These 2 seas, with very different physical and geographical characteristics, both show similar trends in fish-catch dynamics. The natural fluctuations of marine ecosystems and anthropogenic interference with natural ecosystems functions have led to significant negative impact on ecosystem health and have resulted in a negative change in both the structure and the amounts of catches. The decreasing fish catch in the Russian seas has become a concern for the Russian Federation, and revised policies for the management of the Russian fisheries have been introduced. This policy document Concept of the Fishery Development in the Russian Federation for the Period up to the Year 2020 is presented and discussed.
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