Russia’s seafood imports in 2020 displaying amazing trends

February 1, 2021 22:39

Russia’s seafood import volume in 2020 has declined by 7.9% due to CIVID-19 but several important segments have displayed an amazing growth despite the harsh economic environment, reports

Such conclusions can be drawn from a report prepared by DEFA Group analysts who compared the import figures for different species and products year-on-year and made projections for 2021.

The total volume of imports in 2020 amounted to 445.6 thousand tons declining by 7.9% versus the previous year. A noticeable reduction in volumes occurred in several commodity groups: saury/sardines - by 38.8%, surimi-by 21.8% and pelagics-by 18.1%.

The volume in the crustaceans group increased significantly – by 23.2% and mollusks-by 16.9%.

The following dynamics are observed within the main import groups.


The salmonids import volume for 12 months of 2020 increased by 9.6% and amounted to 93.7 thousand tons. In 2019 this figure was at the level of 85.5 thousand tons.

A record increase of 97.3% occurred in the volume of chilled trout while coho salmon surged by almost 1.4 times reaching 5.8 thousand tons.

The volume of imported fresh-frozen salmonids from Chile amounted to 57.3 thousand tons going down by 1.7% versus 2019.

The total import of chilled salmon decreased by 2.9% amounting to 14.7 thousand tons.


In the pelagic group, the volume of imports reached 131.1 thousand tons. In 2020, the volume of herring significantly decreased by 31.9%, and mackerel was also 6% down.

Positive dynamics in this group was observed only for herring fillets, the volume reaching 12.7 thousand tons or 6.2% more than a year earlier.

White fish

The volume of imports of white fish fillets remained almost unchanged compared to 2019 standing at 20.45 thousand tons, an increase of 0.8% year-on-year.

At the same time, there were significant variations within the group. In particular, imports of pangasius fillets reached 8.85 thousand tons growing by 35.4% compared to the previous year. On the negative side, there was a d   ecrease in volumes for pollock fillets falling by 36%.

Hake imports went up by 6.6 % hitting 22.6 thousand tons.

The volume of imports of sea bass and sea bream from Turkey remained almost unchanged and amounted to 9.88 thousand tons.

Non-finfish species

The on-finfish species total volume increased by 19.2% and amounted to 91.3 thousand tons.

A large increase of 114.5% was observed for oysters while shrimps surged by 25.2%.  

For mussels and squid, the volume increased by 19.7% and 12.1%, respectively.

Octopus shipments decreased by 29.8%, scallops-by 24.3%, and sea cocktail-by 12.2%.

In 2020, there was a positive trend in the import of shrimp, the total volume reaching 54.9 thousand tons. The main growth in the group was provided by the northern shrimp Pandalus borealis leaping by 82.1%, as the white leg shrimp vannamei increased by 26.8%. The black tiger shrimp import volume has been greatly reduced.

"Despite all the difficulties and restrictions associated with the pandemic, the volume of imports in 2020 reached a good level, dropping only by 7.9%. The figures confirm that salmonids and shrimps remain a priority for the Russian consumer.

The main trend for 2021 has to do with the development of Russian aquaculture and the growth of supply from the Russian Far East due to restrictions on supplies to the Chinese market and," says Vladimir Kalimullin, Commercial Director of DEFA Group.

"As for imported pelagics, we expect a significant shortage in the first half of 2021. But there is also a positive forecast. For the first time in the last few years, capelin has returned to the sales range. The raw material problem in Vietnam and India is still acute, but we are actively working on new suppliers, and I am sure that we will be provided with the necessary volumes and stocks, " adds Alexandra Skvortsova, head of the procurement department.

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