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Weekly Overview: Norway and UK Find New Markets for Fish Halted by Russian Import Ban

Lucy Towers
19 August 2014, at 1:00am

ANALYSIS - After Russia announced its ban on imports of fishery products from Norway, US, EU, Canada and Australia, many of the countries most hit are now trying to find new markets for their products, writes Lucy Towers, TheFishSite Editor.

In the UK, the new Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Elizabeth Truss said that the government will help open up lucrative new fish markets and increase access to existing markets in the Far East and West Africa for Scottish mackerel.

The government will also work with the fishing industry to manage supplies of mackerel to help keep prices stable and provide economic support for storing frozen mackerel while alternative markets are sought.

The Norwegian Seafood Council responded to Russia's ban by announcing that it plans to boost its marketing activities in other important markets for salmon and trout.

The Council has decided to put all planned investments in Russia on hold, and move the funds to other markets. In addition, the Council had already planned for extra investments this year and will invest from the industry’s own reserve funds.

All together, these extra investments sum up to almost 60 million NOK, which the Seafood Council will invest in France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Great Britain, Japan and Norway.

Alaska, US, will also need to find a new home for $60 million worth of seafood (mainly pink, chum and salmon roe) which is usually exported to Russia.

In other news, on-going violence in Gaza has left the fishing sector in disarray. The FAO expects the damage to have long-lasting effects and to cause food prices to increase in the area.

The fighting has forced fishermen and farmers to abandon their activities, bringing local food production to a halt and severely affecting livelihoods. Recovery in the agriculture sector, especially, once fighting ceases, will require significant external assistance over the long term.