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Russian Fish Imports Steadily Declining

Economics +1 more

RUSSIA - Fish imports to Russia are steadily declining this year, which means that the country is succeeding in the process of fish imports' substitution said Timur Mitupov, the head of the analytical centre of the fisheries information service recently.

He said in April this year vis--vis March, imports of chilled and frozen fish declined by 24.4 per cent to USD 171 million. For April 2012 compared to April 2011, they were down 18.9 per cent.

The Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers reports that during the period of April 2012-April 2011 imports of frozen fish declined 37.7 per cent to USD 52.9 million, also frozen fillets were down 31.7 per cent at USD 22.4 million. For the same period, imports of fresh and chilled fish increased by 2.8 per cent to USD 95.7 million.

The decline was due to lower imports of trout and mackerel. For the period of January-March 2012, frozen trout imports were down 39.6 per cent to 2,900 tonnes; frozen mackerel declined 47.5 per cent to 13,600 tonnes. For the same period, imports of frozen capelin were up 3.2 times to 37,500 tonnes; sprats up 37.3 per cent to 16,900 tonnes; and whiting by 14,100 tonnes. While imports of herring fillets were up 11.2 per cent to 11,900 tonnes, imports of Chinese tilapia and Vietnamese pangasius declined 36.6 per cent to 4,000 tonnes; and surimi by 14.8 per cent to 4,600 tonnes.

At the same time, despite the decline of imports in volume terms, its value is increasing, which corresponds to the trend of 2011, when fish imports to Russia increased by 30 per cent, in value terms, compared to 2010, mainly due to a significant increase in fish prices.

Among the major fish importers to Russia are Norway and Finland.

According to Timur Mitupov, currently Russia is experiencing the process of fish imports' substitution, thanks to the ever growing volumes of domestic catches.

According to the Federal Agency for Fisheries, last year total Russian fish catch amounted to 4.225 million tons of fish and seafood, which is 197,000 tons (4.9 per cent) more than in 2010. Since 2008, the volume of the Russian fish catch is growing annually by about 300 thousand tons per year.

At the same time, according to analysts of the Fishretail, one of Russia's leading magazines in the field of fishery, despite the currently observing imports' decline, Russia still heavily depends on fish supplies from abroad.

According to analysts, fish imports to Russia still significantly exceed the volume of its exports in volume and value terms. In addition, there is a need to take into account that a significant share of fish imports to Russia accounts for the products, which were caught in Russia and imported to the country after processing in China and South Korea.