Russian seafood imports for 9 months of 2022 dwindling but showing signs of recovery

November 12, 2022 22:00

For the nine months of 2022 total imports decreased in relation to the nine months of 2021, both in value and in absolute terms by 23% and 40%, respectively. The volume of imports decreased by 157 thousand tons and amounted to 237 thousand tons. The decrease is observed in all groups with the exception of finished fish products. The maximum reduction in value is recorded by surimi, according to Defa Group.

"After the pause that we observed in the spring and summer, we see that imports have begun to recover. Companies have developed solutions for logistics and financial chains. We don't know what will happen tomorrow, everything can change at any moment, but today the process is optimized.

The market is waiting for New Year's Eve trading. This encourages importers to import goods so that they are in the necessary quantities for sales in the fourth quarter.

Herring fishery is just beginning to gain momentum. We are looking forward to when the catch will begin in full force in order to make an offer for the market in November.

According to statistics and offers, we see a large supply of Chilean salmon on the market. Large volumes and a stable exchange rate enable importers to reduce prices.

This year there was a good harvest of Turkish trout. The fish will be delivered to the Russian market for subsequent sale by the new year. In addition, Karelia ( Russia’s province in the Northwest) will start delivering its products in November, thereby adding additional volume to the market.

Everything else is visible in numbers, everything speaks for itself.

Like all importers, we expect that the whole trade will be more interesting than the spring-summer trade. We and all have good sales!", — says Vladimir Kalimullin, Commercial Director of Defa group


Total salmon imports in value terms for the first nine months of 2022 decreased by $62 million (-14%).

The only positions that show growth are Turkish fresh–frozen trout and coho salmon. Trout returned to the growing trend +11% thanks to fresh frozen trout (the decline continues for chilled trout). The import of coho reached the level of the whole 2021.

Total imports of salmon from Chile increased by 9% and amounted to $188 million. The increase in value in addition to the coho is contributed by North Atlantic salmon, the prices of which have increased by more than 50%.

Imports from the Faroe Islands, which stopped in February, have not resumed, which explains the 81% drop in this direction.


In the first nine months of 2022, total imports of Atlantic pelagics decreased by $71 million (-60%).

The main driver of the decline is mackerel: imports decreased by 10 times, which is due to both minimal volumes at the beginning of the year and the late start of the new season. There is also a significant decrease in capelin, which was actively imported that year. The herring is stable.

Shellfish and other non-finfish

The import of seafood, unlike other import groups, decreased in comparison with the six months of 2022, having decreased by 26% in value and 35% in tonnage by the end of nine months. This dynamic is caused by a change in the squid trend from rising to falling and a slowdown in the growth of octopuses.

For squid, the decrease is due to the main group of imports – dried squid, which occupies about 90% of the structure. Pacific squid and young squid show a decrease of more than half.

The import structure of octopuses has changed. The import of young octopuses remained at the level of last year, and the import of large octopuses doubled – thus, large octopuses became the main import product this year with a share of more than 60% in the structure.

As regards mussels, 70% of the import structure is accounted for mussel meat, the rest is shell-on mussels.

Total shrimp imports for the first nine months of 2022 decreased by 39% in value and 48% in tonnage (down to 32 thousand tons). The decline is observed in all positions from 30% to 70%, but the rate of decline relative to the result of six months has slowed down.

For the Vannamey shrimp, the decrease was 28% ($63 million). For the main countries – Ecuador, India and Vietnam, imports decreased proportionally by 30%-40%, there are no strong changes in the structure.

Imports of northern shrimp decreased by about 60%, the rate of decline slowed down, the same volume was received in the third quarter as in the first half of the year.

Langoustines are the leaders of the decline among all types of shrimp: by 67% in value and 71% in tonnage, but the rate of decline has decreased.


Total imports of whitefish fillets decreased by $2 million (-4%). In absolute terms, the import amounted to 16 thousand tons (-28% compared to last year). The rate of decline decreased relative to the total of six months due to a change in the tilapia trend to a growing one, slowing the decline of halibut and accelerating the growth of pangasius.

For the first nine months of 2022, the total import of sea bass and dorado decreased by $ 2.5 million (-6%), in absolute terms, the decrease was 19%, to 6.9 thousand tons. The rate of decline as a whole has slowed down significantly relative to the results of six months, and for fresh-frozen sea bass and dorado, there has even been an upward trend.

Hake imports continue to decline, although the rate of decline has slowed down. It decreased by 13% in value and 27% in tonnage. In absolute terms, the import amounted to 11.7 thousand tons. In the third quarter, hake was imported for $ 9 million. The main volume is Argentine hake, the import of which reached the level of last year with a slight increase. Growth has slowed for Uruguay. The overall decline is given by Ecuador and Peru.

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