Created: 3/21/1963

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Current Support Brief



Office of Research and Reports



On3 the Cuban government announced that plans for the constructionoviet-financed fishing port in the Bay of Havana were complete and that work would begin in February, it Although the exact location of the port was not announced, intelligence indicates that it may be built In the area of Cayo Cruz. Cuba has highlighted this project as an example of Soviet aid for the development andof the Cuban economy. The expanded port facilities not only would help Cuba to increase its fish catch but also wouldor the expansion of Soviet fishing operations In the Western Hemisphereor Soviet military and scientific intellige

nce-gathering activities.

1. Construction

The Cubans have announced lhat the porl is scheduled for completion this year and that on completion it will be able to servehips of the Soviet fishing fleet, as well as theohips of the Cuban fishing fleet. The port reportedly will be able to accommodate abouto IS shipsime. In addition, the port is toreezer plantapacity toetric tons (mt) oflant for processing fish meal, an iceloating repair dock capable of serving ships of up toross register tonsepairadio transmitter, and fueling facilities. 2/ It has been stated that the port will be able tot ofear.

The Cuban government stated at the time that the project was first announced in2 that the total cost of Ihe port would be approximatelyillion. Financingo be arranged by the USSR andreditillion. Half of this credit will be used for equipment and materials and the remainder for food to be used asto Cuban labor. 3/ In spite of tha full financial obligation of the USSR, Cuba has emphasised that the operation of the port whenwilluban venture andyear commitment to provide

services to the Soviet trawlers in North Atlantic waters will enable Cuba to generate the means for the repayment of this loan.

Although the Cuban press of3 indicated that the actual construction of the port was not scheduled to begin until February.

. ooservcdulkhead forfacilities in the area of Cayo Cruz was already in the process The bulkhead was tentatively identifiedart ofSoviet fishing Aerial photography

moreover, shows three trawlers docked at the iceadjacent to the newly completed bulkhead and three docked attip of Cayo Cruz Although it

cannot be positively establisned uauis the location of the Soviet-financed facilities, it appears to be the most likely site in the Bay of Havana.

2. Objectives

An announced goal of the USSR in financing construction of this port undoubtedlyesire to improve the food situation in Cuba and to make Cuba less dependent on imports of fish. Per capita consumption of fish in Cuba is aboutoear, with aboutercent of the fish consumed being imported. 4/ The average amount of processed fish, mostly dried or salted cod. imported annually8 has amountedl, equivalentt of landed weight,ost ofillion toillion. 5/ The planned commitment of the USSR to supply Cubai of fishresumably processed fish, suggests that part of the food supplied under the proposed creditwill be in the form of fish or fish products.

In addition to credit for building the new port, the USSR is supplying Cuba with Soviet-manned trawlers' for training Cuban fishing crews. Aboutf these trawlers now are operating out of Cuban ports, and some of them are expected to be turned over to Cuban control in the near future. Poland previously supplied Cuba withRT fishing boats.

and Japan recently deliveredRT tuna fishing boats. Theare manned by mixed Japanese and Cuban crews. With thisthe Cuban fishing industry shouldubstantial increase in the total fish catch

The Cuban fishing port also willase for expanding Soviet fishing operations in the Western Hemisphere. The development of the Soviet fishing industry in the postwar period has been based entirely on the expansion of deep sea fishing in international waters. hipbuilding program launched by the USSR in the late forties, moreover,the USSR with the largest and most modern fishing fleet in tho world, currently estimated atrawlers. Fishing operations now are being carried out by the USSR in almost all of the more important fishing areas of the world. Approximatelyercent of the total Soviet catch2 was obtained from international waters. Soviet fishing operations in recent years have been so successful that3 the goal for the fish catch5 was increased from thelevel ofillion mt toillionoal that should be attained if the present trend continues.

The USSR, moreover, is interested in expanding its fishingin the tropical waters of the world and haslass of ship especially for this purpose. The Tropik. the first ship of this new class to be constructed, is abouteters long,eight of aboutRT, and reportedly has an operating range0 nautical miles. Serial production of the Tropik class of ship begannd the USSR has contracted with East Germany to build more thanhips of this class, which are to be completed during the East German Seven Year. 6/

The Tropik-class trawler is suitable *for tuna fishing. The USSR has indicated an interest in expanding its tuna fishing activities and may be planning to fish for tuna from the Havana port. Soviet ships reportedly also have been surveying the Caribbean and tropical waters of the South Atlantic for new fishing grounds. There are tuna fishingiles off the coast of the northeast region of Brazil. This area



is fished under joint Japanese-Brazilian fishing enterprises operating of Recife. Brazil. The best known tuna fishing grounds, however, ar, located in the Pacific Ocean in the vicinity of the Galapagos Islands, which lie northwest of Peru. Soviet and Cuban fishing vessels could have easy access to the Pacific area by using the Panama Canal. The distance from the port of Havana to this rich fishing ground is shorter than to the distant fishing areas off the coast of Brazil, as shown on the map. Figure 3.

The USSR also has considered the possibility of increasing Us catch ofish used primarily for processing into meal. Menhaden are concentrated along the Atlantic coast south of Virginia and extending into the Gulf of Mexico. The interest in menhaden may account for the planned developmentlant for processing fish meal as part of the complement to the new port facilities.

The new port in Cuba also will provide the USSRase that could considerably extend the effective range of operations of trawler types of vessels for military and space surveillance tasks along the Atlantic coast of the US and in the Caribbean. Trawlers subordinated to the Soviet Navy have been assigned intelligence roles in the Atlantic. These ships, although resembling fishing trawlers, are fitted withelectronic equipment and serve as intelligence collection units. The USSR has used trawlers as tracking stations for its own and forpace vehicles. Available evidence, however, does not indicate that Cuban-based trawlers have engaged in such activity thus far.

The auxiliary port facilitiesadio transmitter, repair shop, and fuel station also have possible military uses. These facilities could be used to give logistical and communications support to Soviet submarines or surface military vessels operating in the Atlantic. Again, however, there is no evidence that the proposed facilities are oriented in this direction.

Original document.

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