Results of Russian fish and seafood imports in 1st half 2023

July 20, 2023 16:41

In January-June 2023 Russian finfish and other seafood imports jumped by 54% year-on-year, both in value and in volume, according to the recent market analysis of Defa group – a fish and seafood supplier based in Saint Petersburg. 

The import volume rose by about 80 thousand metric tons to almost 240 thousand tonnes. Positive trends have been observed in all major product categories expect for fillets of white fish and hake. 


The total import of salmons in Jan-Jun 2023 jumped by a little more than 50% or 13 thousand tons worth 300 million USD.

The main drivers behind the growth were still the same as in the first quarter of this year, namely chilled Turkish trout and frozen Chilean salmon fillets.

The total import of salmon from Chile in volume terms increased by about 60% and amounted to more than 20 thousand tons. The increase in value was significantly higher – about 85% to ca.180 million US dollars. In addition to salmon fillets and w/r, frozen trout also showed rising trends.

According to the Chinese General Customs Administration, the growth of trade turnover with Russia was the most significant among all major trading partners of China: +41.3%. However, the year-on-year growth of imports in volume terms was no more than 1%, while the growth in value was about 32%, primarily due to the rise of average contract prices.

Trout imports from Turkey increased by 80% both in volume and value.

According to the estimates of the National Rating Agency (NRA), about 60% of salmon imports to Russia until February 2022 were provided by Chile and the Faroe Islands. As we know, imports from the Faroe Islands stopped in February last year, but in the 1st half of 2023 the Russian salmon market was recovering and transforming, and the "gone" volume of chilled salmon was being replaced by a stronger supply of chilled trout. It should also be noted that the import of coho for the first half of 2023 is already equal to its volume delivered for the whole of 2022.


In the first half of 2023, the total import of pelagic fish from the Atlantic Ocean increased by 20 thousand tons (+60%) in volume terms. In value, the total import of pelagic has doubled, or by 45 million US dollars.

Mackerel and capelin remain the main drivers of growth. According to the National Fish Resources, "in the North-West, a decline of coldstore inventories against the background of steady demand ensures a further rise in Atlantic mackerel prices."

There is a decrease of about 65% in herring fillets. Imported sliced herring is not in demand.

At the same time, the downward trend for whole herring has stopped and the product has been even showing a slight increase (less than 0.5%) year-on-year. According to the data of the industry monitoring system, the total Russian catch of fish and seafood as per the end of June amounted to more than 2.426 million MT, including 237.8 thousand tonnes of Pacific herring. At the moment, the herring market shows trends towards import substitution. According to Defa forecasts, due to the higher catches of Russian fishing companies, the share of herring imports will decrease and will be replaced by domestic production.


The import of shellfish and other non-finfish in the first half of the year increased by 60% in value and by 80% in volume. The maximum growth was recorded for crustaceans and mussels.

For squid, the increase was 30%, mainly due to dried squid, a dominating import article in terms of volume.

For octopuses, the imports kept on falling: by 5.6 million USD or 60% in the 1st half of 2023. The structure of imports remained on a par as compared to last year and was represented by baby and large octopuses almost in half.

For mussels, there was a double increase in relation to the same period last year. In the import structure, 2/3 was accounted for mussel meat, the remaining share was contributed by half shell mussels.

Total shrimp imports for the first half of 2023 jumped by more than 130% to more than 40 thousand MT.

For white vannamei shrimp, the increase was 150% in volume and 120% in value (to 190 million dollars). As for the country of origin in the first half of 2023, India was the leader, contributing more than 40%. It was followed by Ecuador with a share of a bit more than 30% on the second place and Saudi Arabia – 15%.

The import of northern shrimp for 6 months of 2023 as compared to the same period of last year decreased by 23% and amounted to less than a quarter of last year's volumes.

Langoustines are the leaders of growth among all types of shrimp: its import volume jumped almost 6 times.

White fish

Total imports of white fish fillets decreased by almost 8 million USD. In volume terms, the white fish import amounted to no more than 8 thousand tons. As for the results of the first six months of the year, the downward trend in tilapia and pangasius imports slowed down: -20% and -30%, respectively.

In January-June 2023, the total import of sea bass and sea bream increased by almost 40% by $ 7.2 million, and in volume terms the increase was more than 35%, or 1.5 thousand tons. The growth was first of all a result of an increase in the volume of supplies of frozen sea bass and sea bream. There is also a slight trend towards an increase in imports of chilled sea bass and sea bream fillets as compared to last year.

The import of hake fillets continues to decline, it decreased by 30% YOY and amounted to a little more than 400 metric tons. Through the first six months, hake fillets imported a little more than 1.5 million dollars. The major share was represented by Argentinean hake, the import of which went two-fold down YOY. Exports from Ecuador replaced exports from Peru, but the shipments still remained small. Also, supplies from China continued to grow, their volumes already account for one third of the total volume of imports of hake fillets.

HGT hake show a slight decrease in physical terms, about 10%, and amount to a little more than 4 thousand tons. The main driver of the decline is Peru, whose imports to Russia grew from 2019 to 2021 inclusive, and last year decreased by 50%. Now the decline in imports is already more than 90%. In the 1st half of 2023 the hake import from Uruguay shows a decrease in imports by 30%. Hake shipments from Argentina was almost 5.5 thousand tons (+1% year-on-year).

What is MEGAFISHNET.COM? is a global fish and seafood marketplace with an emphasis on APPROVED SUPPLIERS from such major sources as China, Russia, Vietnam, Europe, Americas, etc. More details →