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Russian Fish Processing Companies Struggling Under Import Ban

02 September 2014

RUSSIA - Fish processing companies in Russia have found themselves at a crossroad as they need to replace raw fish that is no longer coming in from Norway, Finland and the Baltic states due to the Russian import ban.

In Northwest Russia, dozens of companies specialize in fish processing, canning and preserves and some of these depend entirely on imports of fish from Europe, reports RG.ru.

For example, two plants in the Novgorod region use only Finnish herring and sprat. Local herring and sprat can be found, but it is of a different texture and size meaning the facility would have to start from scratch and the volume is also not high enough to meet the demand. These companies have therefore appealed to the government of the region to ask for help in solving the problem of raw material availability.

Companies from the Murmansk region, which were engaged in the processing of Norwegian salmon, have also had to shift to Far East pink and sockeye salmon. However, there are several problems.

Firstly, the logistics chain "Far East - Murmansk region" is much longer and more expensive than the chain "Norway - Murmansk region."

Secondly, the Far East has already got contracts for fish in place and many are not willing to give up orders to support Russian processors.

Thirdly, sockeye salmon is different to Atlantic salmon and therefore different production lines are needed.

One way to help Russian fish processors could be through budget subsidising interest rates on loans for fishery enterprises. Or, through creating incentives for Russian fishermen if they send fish to the domestic market rather than for export.

"It is possible, for example, to differentiate the tax rate on the extraction of marine biological resources," said Yuri Alasheev, Fish Union Chairman. "For fishermen who sell the catch in the domestic market, this rate decreases, and if it is sent to export then it increases."

"You can also expand the area of coastal fishing and oblige fishermen to supply all the fish caught in the coastal zone to the domestic market."

 

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