Overview of main trends in Russian seafood importation in 2004-2007 reveals big leap forward

April 11, 2008 10:24

Dynamics of Russia's seafood imports in 2004-2007 was mixed with a growth in 2004-2005, a decrease in 2006 and another growth in 2007. However, generally the market made a big leap forward. The conclusion has been made by FISHNET analysts (http://www.fishnet-russia.com/, https://www.fishnet.ru/) after a study of official statistics of Russia's Federal Customs Service on the nation's imports of products of HSC Group 03 "Fish, Shellfish, Mollusks and Other Aquatic Invertebrates".

Note: The below report is based on the figures of importation from countries of origin.


Russia's import of finfish and other aquatic species in 2004 amounted to 738,757 tonnes at ca.643 million USD. The above volume included ca.40% of Norwegian products amounting to more than 294,206 metric tons. As compared to Norway, the shares of other producers were insignificant. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland was the second largest producer of seafood imported to the Russian Federation with the volume of more than 58,263 tonnes and a share of 7.9%. The third largest producer in volume terms was Mauritania with its 45,684 tonnes and a share of 6.2%. Along with the above, Iceland, Denmark, Estonia, the USA, Lithuania, Kazakhstan, Finland were among large producers of fish and other aquatic products shipped to Russia.

Largest producers of seafood imported to the Russian Federation in 2004

RankCountry of originVolume, metric tons
6United States of America25,960
11Other countries of origin157,899


In 2005 Russia's seafood import totalled nearly 867,807 metric tons worth 952 million USD. As compared to the previous year 2004, the volume grew by 17%, while the value of import jumped by 48%.

Norway as Russia's largest producer of imported seafood also increased it volume by 19% from 294,206 tonnes to 349,405 tonnes. Thanks to similar year-on-year growth rates of Norway (19%) and of Russia's total seafood import (17%) the contribution of Norwegian seafood in 2005 remained practically on a par with 2004 (correspondingly 40.26% versus 39.28%).

Russia's second largest supplier by country of origin in 2004, the United Kingdom, decreased its share from 7.89% (more than 58,263 tonnes) in 2004 to 4.09% (35,516 tonnes) thus descending to the sixth position giving place to Mauritania, Iceland, Estonia and the USA.

Thus, Mauritania stepped up as the second largest producer of imported seafood in 2005 with the volume of 63,637 tonnes, 39% up on 46,000 tonnes in 2005, and a share of 7.3% up from 6.18%.

The share of Iceland, Russia's third largest producer of imported seafood in 2005, remained practically unchanged at 5.7% versus 5.4% in 2004. The supplies of Icelandic fish to Russia grew by 24% from nearly 40,000 metric tons to nearly 50,000 tonnes.

The top-10 of countries of origin in 2005 also included Estonia, the USA, Denmark, Canada, Argentina and Kazakhstan.

Largest producers of seafood imported to the Russian Federation in 2005

RankCountry of originVolume, metric tons
6United Kingdom35,516
11Other countries of origin185,910


In 2006 the positive dynamics of Russia's seafood import halted with the volume falling by 12% from 867,807 tonnes to 773,441 tonnes. Despite the smaller volume, the value of Russian seafood import in 2005 grew by 27% from 952 million USD to 1.2 billion USD due to the product price rise by 42%. At the same time, introduction of restrictions for seafood importation from a number of countries obviously affected volumes of shipments to Russia.

In 2006 the share of Norway remaining the largest producer of seafood imported to Russia came down to ca.35% from 40.3% in 2005. The volume of supplies of Norwegian seafood in 2006 went down by 23% from 349,405 tonnes to 267,934 tonnes.

In the year under analysis Vietnam emerged as one of the largest producers of seafood imported to Russia. Shipments of Vietnamese fish jumped more than three times from 15,779 tonnes in 2005 to 53,509 tonnes in 2006 thus leading the country Russia's second largest producer with a share of 7%. The range of Vietnamese seafood imported to Russia was dominated by pangasius catfish. As the Russian statistics makes it impossible to monitor the nation's import of pangasius due to the lack of the corresponding HSC, FISHNET analysts had to study Vietnamese sources. According to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), the volume of the nation's export of pangasius to Russia in 2006 amounted to 42,800 metric tons.

Iceland, the third largest producer of fish shipped to Russia in 2006, displayed a stable volume of 49,364 tonnes (49,463 tonnes in 2005) and a share of 6.4% (down from 5.7% in 2005). Besides, Russian importers purchased a double amount of Chinese fish with the volume rising from nearly 20,000 tonnes in 2005 to more than 40,000 tonnes in 2006.

The list of Russia's largest producers of imported seafood in 2006 also included Mauritania, Estonia, UK, Denmark, Canada and the USA.

Largest producers of seafood imported to the Russian Federation in 2006

RankCountry of originVolume, metric tons
11Other countries of origin158,284


In 2007 the Russian importers purchased nearly one million metric tons of finfish and other aquatic species, namely 997,600 tonnes, at a total value of more than 1.7 billion USD with the rise on the previous year 2006 amounting to 29% in volume and 44% in value.

 Speaking about countries of origin, Norway remained the leading producer of seafood imported into Russia in 2007 with a result of 373,000 tonnes worth ca.630 million USD. Growth of Russia's import of Norwegian finfish and shellfish into Russia amounted to 39% in volume and 44% in value as compared to 2006.

The second place with a large gap from the leader was taken by China with a result of ca.80,000 tonnes worth more than 174 million USD. However, the growth rate of Russia's imports of Chinese fish was much higher as compared to those of Norway: 97% in volume and 98% in value. In the meantime, the share of the country grew from 5% to 8%.

The third place in volume of import supplies was taken by Vietnam. More specifically, in 2007 Russian importers purchased 58,000 tonnes of Vietnamese fish worth nearly 115 million USD. As compared to 2006, the growth rates were not very high amounting to 9% in volume and nearly 7% in value. Obviously, the growth of imports of Vietnamese fish in Russia was impeded by the restrictions of Russia's Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance Rosselkhoznadzor according to which seafood importation from Vietnam was allowed only from plants approved by the Russian vets. On the other hand, the above mentioned positive dynamics of the Russian imports of Vietnamese fish is indicative of the market players' adaptation to the new veterinary requirements and further development of Russian-Vietnamese trade in seafood products.

Just like in 2006 the bulk of Vietnamese seafood imported to Russia was contributed by pangasius catfish. According to VASEP, the volume of the Vietnamese export of pangasius to Russia amounted to 48,728 tonnes worth more than 90 million USD, thus displaying an increase by 13.9% in volume and 8.4% in value as compared to 2006. The share of Russia in Vietnamese export of pangasius amounted to 12.6%, VASEP reported.

Along with Norway, China and Vietnam, top10 of leading producers (countries of origin) of seafood products imported to the Russian Federation also include UK, Mauritania, Denmark, Iceland, Estonia, Canada and Chile.

 The rating of producing countries in value of supplies is somewhat different with Denmark stepping up as the third leading producer after Norway and China. The above three leaders are followed by Vietnam, Chile, UK, Canada, the USA, Iceland and Mauritania.

In the future issues of the Russian Fish Report we shall publish a detailed comparative analysis of Russia's seafood imports in 2004-2007 for chilled and frozen salmon and trout, frozen herring, frozen mackerel, chilled and frozen salmon and trout fillets, frozen Alaska pollock fillets, frozen whiting and whiting fillets, frozen shrimps, frozen squid, frozen sea scallops, surimi, fish roe, liver and milt.

Russia’s import of finfish and other aquatic species of the HSC Group 03 according to official data of the nation’s Federal Customs Service in 2004-2007 (download here)

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