Seeing the silver lining in Russia seafood ban

When I first read the headline that Alaska crabbers were calling for a retaliatory ban on Russia seafood imports, my thought was, well that seems like a knee-jerk reaction — what will that accomplish? If Russia is importing less seafood, than they will have more use for domestic product so the  loss of U.S. seafood probably won’t effect the country’s supply that significantly.
The second time I saw the news — this time with Alaska legislators backing the idea, it started to make more sense. Alaska’s congressional delegation sent a letter to the state department in late August asking that the U.S. work to convince Russia to end its ban, and if Russia does not do so, that the U.S. institute an import ban and coordinate with international allies to do the same.
Alaska senators Lisa Murkowski and Mark Begich and Rep. Don Young singed a joint letter to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pristzker, stating “We do not make this request lightly as there is significant seafood trade between the two countries, but in light of the direct impact on our constituents’ interests we believe it is necessary for the U.S. to respond quickly and emphatically. It was the Russian government that decided to use food, in addition to energy resources, as economic weapons, and inaction should not be an option.”
U.S. seafood suppliers are being forced to find new markets for product originally destined for Russia, and it is logical to assume that backlog is causing cold storage problems, including increased costs for longer storage and less available space.
So, the same amount of product is being imported with less exported. Why not even things out? The U.S. imports the majority of its seafood but maybe having to rely on domestic supply would open up new opportunities.
U.S. President Barack Obama in June announced initiatives for the seafood industry including domestic aquaculture improvement, such as removing barriers in the permit process to encourage more aquaculture and “rebalance our seafood trade.”
It’s possible a need for more domestic seafood would help speed up that process. And the U.S. wouldn’t be alone in using a ban to promote domestic growth.
According to SPY Ghana, the country recently banned tilapia imports to spur growth in the local aquaculture sector. The ban will also create about 50,000 jobs in the aquaculture sector.
It is a bit extreme, but if a ban on Russia seafood imports is going to happen, maybe this is the silver lining.

Keep checking SeafoodSource for all the latest news on Russia’s ban on seafood exports


Want seafood news sent to your inbox?

You may unsubscribe from our mailing list at any time. Diversified Communications | 121 Free Street, Portland, ME 04101 | +1 207-842-5500