Russia's freshfrozen fish market witnessing many important developments

May 7, 2009 15:28

As per the fourth week of April 2009 trade in freshfrozen seafood in Moscow has shown mixed price trends and many important changes have been observed, analysts of ( concluded after analyzing the current situation on the market.

As one of the most important developments of the week, Rosselkhoznadzor (Russia's Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance) has circulated official information that it has allowed importation of seafood from approved Vietnamese plants. Thus, the earlier Vietnamese reports have been found true saying that 30 companies have been given permits for seafood export to Russia, the above figure including 10 businesses which will export finfish, 12 companies which will ship dried shellfish/mollusks/seaweed (other than non-finfish products), 6 will supply surimi to Russia and 2 plants will export shrimps. The list of approved plants has been published on

Russia's Federal Fisheries Agency has continued implementation of its program on revival of "Okean" (Ocean in English) retail network of affordable seafood shops. Thirteen stores have already been launched in Russia. More specifically, nine "Okeans" have been recently opened in Taganrog, three have been working in Arkhangelsk and one shop has been launched in Murmansk. According to the Agency's head Andrey Krainy, product prices in the "Okeans" are significantly lower than in non-specialized trade chains. In Taganrog, for instance, one kilo of pollock costs RUB68.00, capelin costs RUB48.00 per kilo and sprat is available at RUB35.00 per kilo.

Russian and foreign media have been fueling concerns around the outbreak of influenza A H1H1 found in growing number of countries. Despite statements of official veterinary bodies on food safety of pork meat, Russian vets from Rosselkhoznadzor have been introducing new restrictions for pork importation from various countries. So far the impact of the above events is not yet clear as to seafood consumption. However, such factors as growing shortage of pork, consumers' fears of getting infected, etc. may influence the rise of demand for other products, seafood inclusive.

In general, as per early May 2009 the market has been showing mixed price trends for finfish and other than non-finfish products. In particular, prices have increased for HGT hake, Atlantic salmon and mackerel of popular sizes.

Price decreases have been observed for hake fillets, headed pollock and blue whiting.

According to Russia's pollock fishermen, as per early May the ratio of export and domestic shipments of pollock products is being driven not by prices but by the wholesalers' readiness to secure stable purchases of pollock products during the whole year.

In fact, the price conditions both on the domestic and on the external markets have leveled out. More specifically, the price per tonne of headed pollock ex-vessel/railway car in Vladivostok amounts to RUB40,000-42,000 while the price CIF Qingdao amounts to RUB42,000-43,000 per tonne. On the international market headed pollock has depreciated by 20% as compared to December 2008.

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