Russia’s seafood import results in first half 2021

August 19, 2021 14:30

DEFA Group (leading importer) has prepared a brief report on the Russian fish and seafood imports in the first half of 2021 in comparison with the same period last year. It is amazing that despite the pandemic and other calamities, growth in nearly all segments was observed, reports  

According to DEFA, the total volume of imports in 2021 increased by 50 thousand tons (+26%). Growth is observed in almost all groups, but seafood (shellfish and other non-finfish species) shows the greatest dynamics.


The total import of salmonids increased by 15.5 thousand tons (+42%). The growth is fueled by Turkish trout with the volume increasing 4 times, while fresh frozen trout increased 6 times, to 12.3 thousand tons, and chilled trout grew 3 times, to 5.8 thousand tons.

If you look at the breakdown by country, the situation is as follows. The total import of salmonids from Chile remains at the level of last year with a slight decrease (-3%) and amounts to 24 thousand tons. The volume of import of chilled fish from the Faroe Islands increased by 8%.

Pelagic species

Pelagic imports at the end of the half-year remained at the level of last year with a slight increase. After the "failed" 1st quarter (Faroese vessels had a number of restrictions on fishing due to the Brexit situation), it was possible to reach the indicators of 2020 due to the increase in the import of Japanese mackerel from Ecuador (40% of the total volume), the return of capelin and the early start of fishing in the Faroe Islands.

Seafood (shellfish and other non-finfish species)

Total seafood imports surged by 81%. The increase is observed in almost all groups, but the shrimps are still the driver of growth (an increase of 2 times). The growth in white-leg shrimp vannamei from different supplier countries was from 10% to 50%, for langoustines, a twofold increase was recorded.

The import of northern shrimp has tripled, exceeding the annual volumes for 5 previous years in 6 months.

In the structure of the import of mussels, 85% is contributed by supplies from Chile. An increase of 55% is also noted in this segment.

For squid, growth is ensured thanks to the giant squid (fillets, wings and trimmings), the import of which has increased by more than 3 times.

White fish

The total import of white fish fillets increased by 5 thousand tons (+50%). Growth is observed in all positions, with the exception of pollock fillets. The growth drivers in this group are pangasius and tilapia fillets.

Supplies of sea bass and dorado increased by 1.3 thousand tons (+32%). At the same time, the growth is mainly provided by fresh frozen sea bass and dorado. Imports of chilled sea bass and dorado remain at a stable level.

The same stability is observed for hake, but the distribution among the supplier countries has changed. Imports from Ecuador increased 4 times, from Argentina the shipments decreased by 10%, from Uruguay there was a decrease to the minimum historical value.

"A very active season is in stock for us in the pelagic segment as large volumes of Atlantic herring are forthcoming, but there are still many questions and uncertainty about the supply of mackerel," Vladimir Kalimullin, commercial director of DEFA Group, shares his forecasts. "In the seafood group, the import situation is greatly aggravated by constantly rising freight prices.”

Prices for the imported fresh-frozen salmonids will remain consistently high until December 2021, but at the same time the volumes will be insignificant, and the size of the fish will be average. Chilled salmon from Murmansk and the Faroe Islands will come to the aid of fresh frozen fish.

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