Russia’s Rosselkhoznadzor has done what
it had promised, and ban for Norwegian salmon came in force May 5th.
Official statement was as follows: “We found that the products do not
comply with Russian sanitary standards resulting a risk of import of
The import of chilled fish to Russia is
temporarily restricted for uncertain period. In addition,
Rosselkhoznadzor has introduced the regime of intensive laboratory
testing of frozen fish originating from 13 Norwegian suppliers.
Russian market players have different
views on this measure, but they share the opinion that the ban will
eventually affect the end consumer.
A number of Russian importers of
Norwegian products see the ban as a danger of the Russian fish market
monopolization as since May 5 about 80 percent of Norwegian trout
imported to Russia will be controlled by a single Russian importer,
namely “Russian Fish Company.”
In a statement the Russian Fisheries
Union indicated that “the actions of Rosselkhoznadzor are
non-transparent, and not clear to the business.”
In my opinion, which many other Russian
businessmen share, the ban will help to promote the production of
Russian fishing enterprises on domestic market. Russia can deliver a
wide variety of wild fish of truly superior quality, like blueback
salmon, chum salmon, coho, hunchback salmon, etc, so the Norwegian
salmon can be partly substituted by the domestic fish.
Talking with Russian businessmen I saw
that they do not think that reducing volumes of Norwegian salmon would
leave the Russian market with no fish. Indeed, in 2011 about 450,000
metric tons of wild salmon was caught in Russia. On the other hand, in
2012 allowable quota for all species of salmon for the fishing season
for Kamchatka fishermen is just about 150,000 metric tons. It’s
explained by significant reduction of salmon population as compared to
previous years. If in 2011 in all regions of the Russian Far East the
total volume of wild salmon was about 500,000 metric tons, this year
only about 275,000 metric tons are assumed.
There’s also another concern to
consider. Every year Russia exports more than 100,000 metric tons of the
Pacific salmon to China, and many businessmen believe that the
government should develop such economic conditions under which domestic
fishing companies would not pay 18 percent VAT when they supply fish to
the domestic market.
“Messaging” this downside on domestic market could indeed stimulate Russian fisheries to turn to the Russian consumers.