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Update on Russian Salmon Imports

RUSSIA - According to trade sources, imports of chilled salmon from Norway dropped by nearly 100percent during the first half of 2006 due to the Russian ban imposed on January 1, 2006.

Update on Russian Salmon Imports - RUSSIA - According to trade sources, imports of chilled salmon from Norway dropped by nearly 100 percent during the first half of 2006 due to the Russian ban imposed on January 1, 2006.

Report Highlights:

Domestic demand for chilled salmon remains strong and retail prices for salmon in the Moscow market increased by ten percent during the last three months. Recently, several Norwegian companies have been permitted to resume exports to Russia, although more than 40 facilities are still awaiting inspections for export licenses. Further audits by the Russian Government are delaying the process.

Report

Although official Russian data is not available yet, trade sources report that during the first half of 2006, imports of chilled salmon from Norway plummeted 98.5 percent since the Russian ban on Norwegian salmon was imposed on January 1, 2006 due to allegedly high levels of heavy metals.

As supplies of chilled salmon from Norway fall, prices continue to rise as demand remains strong. In the Moscow market, retail price for chilled salmon increased by nearly 10 percent during the past three months. Russia is the world's largest importer of Norwegian salmon and demand continues firm due to the expansion of Russian middle class and improved logistics for seafood. Before the ban was in place, Russia imported 600 to 700 metric tons of chilled salmon per week, however, shipments have fallen significantly since the ban.

Despite the ban on imports from Norway, fresh and chilled salmon can be easily found in outdoor markets, retail outlets and hypermarkets, although some of this product is of uncertain origin. Trade sources believe that a significant amount of salmon available in the Russian market is of Norwegian origin, being sold as chilled product from Baltic countries. Recently, the Russian officials discovered an increase of fresh salmon allegedly from Iceland and Estonia, but suspected to be of Norwegian origin.

Trade sources also indicate that the outlook for the second half of 2006 may change as the Russian government begins to allow more Norwegian salmon production facilities to export their product to Russia. Recently, exception to the ban was granted to several companies from Norway, such as Pan Fish. Post confirmed with Norwegian officials that more than 40 Norwegian facilities have applied for export licenses and are awaiting inspection of their facilities by Russian veterinarians. However, the Russian side is dragging out the process with further audits and currently only seven Norwegian facilities are approved for export chilled salmon to Russia.

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