WSRW demands Russian fisheries company to withdraw

Western Sahara Resource Watch demands Murmansk Trawl Fleet to immediate terminate fisheries in occupied Western Sahara.
Published: 31.05 - 2009 13:21Printer version    
Photo above:

Western Sahara Resource Watch has over the last months been in contact with the Russian firm Murmansk Trawl Fleet, regarding their operations in Western Sahara. Today, WSRW demanded that MTF halts its operations in the territory. WSRW currently awaits answers from MTF regarding the scope and nature of their operations offshore the territory. Below is the correspondence.

Murmansk Trawl Fleet
Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Nikolay Karlin

Melbourne, 31 May 2009

Regarding MTF fisheries in occupied Western Sahara

Western Sahara Resource Watch was very glad to receive an e-mail from Murmansk Trawl Fleet in March, indicating that your company periodically visits our homepages, that you find them useful for you, that you respect our work and that you wish us successes in the future.

But seen in the light that your company is fishing in Western Sahara in disregard of the wishes and interests of the Sahrawi people, and considering that we do not get answers about MTF’s operations in the territory, we believe that your company is really not contributing to the cause of our work.

As you probably know, WSRW works in solidarity with the people of Western Sahara. The Sahrawi people, who are living under Moroccan occupation, have the right to self-determination over their land and its resources. This right has been affirmed by over 100 UN resolutions. But unfortunately, these rights are not respected by Morocco.

No state in the world, including the Russian Federation, recognises Morocco’s claim over the territory of Western Sahara, which it illegally occupied in 1975. Morocco is thus not in the position to negotiate over the resources of that territory. This is even clearer for the fisheries resources, considering that Morocco has never even presented a claim to the waters offshore the territory.

Still, some companies choose to carry out businesses with Morocco in the occupied area. On the English section of your homepages, under section “Fishing areas”, MTF claims to do pelagic fisheries in Morocco. However, as WSRW keeps documenting, a large part of MTF’s fisheries under your Moroccan agreement, if not all of it, actually takes place in Western Sahara waters. Western Sahara is not part of Morocco.

Supporting the Moroccan exploitation of natural resources in Western Sahara, as MTF appears to be doing, is not only contributing to violating international law. It furthermore constitutes a political and clearly immoral support to the illegal and brutal Moroccan occupation.

On this basis, Western Sahara Resource Watch strongly urge you to immediately halt those operations, until a peaceful solution to the Western Sahara conflict has been found.

In a long email correspondence with your colleagues over the last months, we have asked your company a number of questions regarding MTF’s operations in Western Sahara.

Your colleague Mr. Shkatov claimed that the answers to our questions are to be found on your homepages. As far as we see, that is incorrect. We would still like an answer to our questions as to the scope and nature of your fishing in occupied Western Sahara. Please find our questions here, including a copy of this letter:

Yours sincerely,

Cate Lewis
International Coordinator
Western Sahara Resource Watch
+61 407 288 358


From: Catherine Lewis
Date: Thu, 14 May 2009 21:49:53 +1000
To: Igor Shkatov
Conversation: MTF
Subject: Re: MTF

Dear Mr. Shkatov
We have now gone thoroughly through both the English and Russian versions of your homepages. To the contrary of what you tell us, we find answers to none of our nine questions on your site.
As far as we see, your pages only partially answers question number 1 and 3, but nothing more.
We would appreciate it a lot if you can answer our questions regarding your company and its operations in occupied Western Sahara, as mentioned in our mail on 8th of April 2009 (copied below).
Yours sincerely,
Cate Lewis


13/4/09 6:42 PM,
Igor Shkatov wrote:

Dear Cate Lewis,

We treat with respect to Lloyd's Register but we want to concentrate your attention that all definite and full information you can get on MTF's website ONLY. This website is indicated in your information bulletin in english as well for sure. You just need to go there and learn it attentively.

Hope for your understanding.

Best regards,
Igor Shkatov
JSC"Murmansk Trawl Fleet"


Dear Mr. Shkatov
Thank you for your mails. Sorry it has taken us some time to get back to you.
The source of Mr. Tugushev being the vice-president of your MTF was Lloyd’s Register, a source we find very credible on ownership information. Please find the information from Lloyd’s below. If the information of Tugushev’s affiliation to MTF is incorrect, it might be a good idea for you to update Lloyd’s.
We will correct the information that you requested. While doing these corrections, we want to introduce a clarification as to why the pages were changed. We therefore hope you will be able to reply to the following questions:

Do we understand you correctly that Mr. Tugushev and Mr. Prutkov today are NOT the vice-president and president of MTF?

Is it correct that Mr. Tugushev and Mr. Prutkov had such roles in your company in the past?
If yes, in which period did they have such roles?
Is this Mr. A. Tugushev the same person as the Alexandr Tugushev, former deputy head of the State Committee for Fisheries?

Does Mr. Tugushev and Mr. Prutkov today have any formal affiliation to your company?
If yes, what kind?

How many licences does MTF have with Morocco at the moment?

What was the annual volume of the MTF catches in Morocco/Western Sahara for 2007 and 2008?

How much of this fishing took place in waters offshore Western Sahara? (Please specify in volume).

Which species are caught in Western Sahara?

Is it correct that the fishing is taking place under the Russian-Moroccan fisheries agreement signed in September 2007?

Which vessels have MTF used in Western Sahara waters during 2007, 2008 and 2009? (please specify by name and IMO number).

Thank you for you patience and your understanding. Looking forward to your reply.

Yours sincerely,

Cate Lewis
Cate Lewis
International Coordinator
Western Sahara Resource Watch
+61 407 288 358


On 31/3/09 10:23 PM,
Igor Shkatov wrote:

Dear Cate Lewis  

I contact you for and behalf of JSC “Murmansk Trawl Fleet”. We periodically visit your Web site and find the information contained in this site as very attractive and useful for us. We are very grateful for this and desire you further creative successes.  
On 21.01.2008 “Western Sahara Resource Watch” published an article” Murmansk Trawl Fleet is behind the 2 recent vessels ", concerning our fishing trawlers, namely “Alexander Mironenko” and “Kapitan  Bogomolov”. Please note that to our deepest regret you incorrectly indicated  the names of our management and also contact telephones and address of JSC  “Murmansk Trawl Fleet”. Full information about the activity of our enterprise you can obtain on our website
We ask you to make amendments in abovementioned article and to use data then as follows:

Chief  executive of JSC”MTF” is Mr. Nikolay Karlin

Address : 43 Shmidt  str. , Murmansk 183 038, Russia
Tel : +7 8152 288 111
Fax : +7 8152  288 070
E-mail :  
Web     :

We respect your activity and hope that it wouldn't so difficult for you  to make present amendments.

Thanks  beforehand.

Best regards,
Igor Shkatov



16.07 - 2018 / 16.07 - 2018EU Council approves Morocco trade deal to include Western Sahara
16.07 - 2018 / 16.07 - 2018EU vessels return home in absense of new EU-Morocco fish deal
06.07 - 2018 / 06.07 - 2018EU Parliament backs self-determination - split on EU Court ruling
05.07 - 2018 / 05.07 - 2018Berlin sceptical - misguided by EU Commission
03.07 - 2018 / 03.07 - 2018Saharawi groups object to EU's Western Sahara trade plans
03.07 - 2018 / 02.07 - 2018This is how the European Commission will violate the CJEU ruling
29.06 - 2018 / 29.06 - 2018Morocco now demands twice the money for EU fishing in Western Sahara
25.06 - 2018 / 27.08 - 2010Support Western Sahara Resource Watch
23.06 - 2018 / 23.06 - 2018Maersk drops transports of conflict rock from occupied Western Sahara
21.06 - 2018 / 21.06 - 2018EU Parliament critical of Commission’s Western Sahara approach
18.06 - 2018 / 16.06 - 2018Polisario initiates new law suit against EU-Morocco fish deal
18.06 - 2018 / 18.06 - 2018Polisario takes EU Council to Court over aviation deal with Morocco
18.06 - 2018 / 18.06 - 2018New book on the plunder of Western Sahara
14.06 - 2018 / 14.06 - 2018Commission misleads EU states on Polisario talks, documentation shows
14.06 - 2018 / 14.06 - 2018Here, the EU Commission is lying about WSRW - and 93 other groups
11.06 - 2018 / 11.06 - 2018This is how the Commission proposes to deal with Western Sahara trade
08.06 - 2018 / 08.06 - 2018Saharawis demonstrated in front of EU Commission
28.05 - 2018 / 28.05 - 2018Wave of investors blacklist Nutrien over Western Sahara controversy
24.05 - 2018 / 17.05 - 2018Exclusive: Here are the Moroccan groups that the EU consulted
22.05 - 2018 / 17.05 - 2018EU Commission closes eyes to Western Sahara judgment in Parliament


Morocco occupies the major part of its neighbouring country, Western Sahara. Entering into business deals with Moroccan companies or authorities in the occupied territories gives an impression of political legitimacy to the occupation. It also gives job opportunities to Moroccan settlers and income to the Moroccan government. Western Sahara Resource Watch demands foreign companies leave Western Sahara until a solution to the conflict is found.
EU Court cases on Western Sahara for dummies


It's not easy keeping up with all the different legal proceedings relating to Western Sahara. For the sake of clarity, here's an overview of the five different cases at the Court of Justice of the European Union.
Stand up for the Gdeim Izik 25!


Leading activists from Western Sahara are condemned to sentences ranging from 20 years to life imprisonment in connection to a mass protest in 2010 denouncing the Saharawi people’s social and economic marginalization in their occupied land; the Gdeim Izik protest camp.
Support Western Sahara Resource Watch


Help us to protect the natural resources of Western Sahara for the Saharawi people. Support our work by making a donation.
Report: Moroccan green energy used for plunder


At COP22, beware of what you read about Morocco’s renewable energy efforts. An increasing part of the projects take place in the occupied territory of Western Sahara and is used for mineral plunder, new WSRW report documents. News Archive 2018 News Archive 2017 News Archive 2016 News Archive 2015 News Archive 2014 News Archive 2013 News Archive 2012 News Archive 2011 News Archive 2010 News Archive 2009 News Archive 2008 News Archive 2007 News Archive 2004-2006

Register for our English newsletter:

These web pages have been built with the financial support of the trade union Industry Energy