Ministry of agriculture turning down request to lift import ban on pelagic species

December 24, 2018 11:21

Russia’s Ministry of Agriculture has turned down a request from the Fish Union (non-profit organization of mostly processors and importers) to lift import ban on pelagic fish (Atlantic herring, mackerel, capelin and capelin roe, Baltic sprat) originating from the countries which imposed sanctions on Russia, according to the Ministry’s press-service as quoted by RIA Novosti.

The Ministry explained that in the recent years the nation’s catches have been steadily rising, therefore lack of imports of the above mentioned pelagic fish can be satisfied by domestic production. For instance, this year the capelin fishery in the Barents Sea has been resumed after a temporary ban, besides the fish is now successfully harvested in the Russian Far East. The nation’s fleets also harvest Pacific herring, mackerel, sprat and other species and deliver them to the national market. Some stocks such as Caspian sprat remain underexploited due to poor demand on the Russian market.

The Fish Union is however concerned about a potential growth of exports of raw fish from Russia at the expense of development of home processing. However, the Ministry of Agriculture thinks such concerns have no grounds. First, the Ministry offers a number of measures aimed at increasing catches and developing fish processing, aquaculture and infrastructure in Russia. Brisk development of the nation’s processing capacities driven by the government program on investment quotas is supposed to make high quality seafood products more affordable for the Russian people.

Then, the Ministry has pointed out that the rise of exports should be generated by bigger shipments of value-added products from fish fillets to fishmeal and fish oil. According to the Ministry’s provisional estimates, the share of such products may jump 4.5 times to ca.50% of the nation’s total seafood exports by 2024. In the meantime, the share of frozen fish will drop from 85% in volume terms to 45%. FAF forecasts that seafood exports will grow by 9% in volume by 2024 and nearly two times in value - from 4.48 billion USD to 8.47 billion USD namely.

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