Russian shipments of crab to China spiked in 2023

Russian Crab Group of Companies' new crab fishing vessel Captain Dudnik

Russian shipments of live and frozen crab to China jumped massively in 2023, as the country’s access to the U.S. and European markets has largely closed off. 

Russia’s seafood industry has been dealing with bans and sanctions in response to its invasion of Ukraine in 2022. The U.S. announced its first bans in March 2022, and since that time, the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden has tightened those restrictions even further.

The European Union also introduced sanctions on Russian goods soon after the invasion, heavily restricting another of Russia’s traditional major markets. 

The result is evident in trade data, which shows China importing massive amounts of Russian crab in 2023. According to Les Hodges of Les Hodges Seafood Consulting, China imported 40.9 million metric tons (MT) of crab in 2023 – a 75 percent increase in volume compared to 2022, which saw imports of 23.4 million MT. Of that, live king and snow crab imports totaled more than 30,000 MT, while frozen imports were just under 11,000 MT.

The higher volumes came with a drop in price; the average price for combined live king and snow crab dropped 11 percent to USD 23.56 (EUR 21.84) per kilogram, while frozen king and snow crab prices dropped by 39 percent to USD 11.09 (EUR 10.28) per kilogram, according to Hodges.

Recent stats released by Russia’s Federal Fisheries Agency (Rosrybolovstvo) indicate Russia sent 1.21 million MT of seafood to China in 2023 more than double what it sent in 2022. That total comprises more than half of the country’s entire exports of seafood, as it sent 2.2 million MT of seafood to other countries in 2023.

Rosrybolovstvo said overall production in 2023 reached ...

Photo courtesy of the United Press Service of Rosrybolovstvo

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