Japan, Russia agree to fishing terms in waters off Northern Territories

Japanese and Russian fishing associations have reached agreement on the terms under which Japan can harvest kelp this year near a group of Russian-controlled islands that Japan claims as an inherent part of its territory.

Japanese crews usually start harvesting the seaweed near Kaigara Island on June 1 after the countries conclude a deal on the conditions of the operation.

However, negotiations this year didn't get underway until May 27, following a delay of more than one month, due largely to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

On Friday, the parties reached an agreement through online talks.

The Hokkaido Fisheries Association, which negotiated the deal, said Japanese fishing crews are allowed to harvest kelp between June 1 and September 30, unchanged from the previous season.

The Japanese side will pay 88.51 million yen, or about 680,000 dollars, around 20,000 dollars less than last year, for a catch of 3,381 tons, down 89 tons.

The operation is expected to begin as early as mid-June with 220 vessels, 11 fewer than the previous season.

The head of a local fisheries association, Ogura Keiichi, said he is relieved that the deal was finally clinched.