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Massive increase in Russian pollock imports into the EU causes concern

Massive increase in Russian pollock imports into the EU causes concern

Market dynamics and pricing strategies

Despite this increase in volume, the sales value of these products has declined. This trend is probably due to the increased supply and Russia’s willingness to bear additional costs through tariffs and sanctions and to sell at any price. This practice has been criticized for under-pricing.

Germany as leading importer

Data from the European Market Observatory for Fishery and Aquaculture Products (EUMOFA) shows that EU buyers imported almost 274,000 tonnes of processed Alaska pollock from China between the start of the Russian invasion in February 2022 and April 2024, worth around €904.5 million.

In 2023, the average monthly consumption of Alaska pollock in Germany was 191 tonnes. A year earlier, this figure was 11% higher and 18% lower than the three-year average. The average consumption of Alaska pollock in 2024 was 52% lower than in the same period in 2023 and 68% lower than in the same period in 2021. In 2024, German consumers paid an average of €14.92 per kg for Alaska pollock, which remained stable compared to the same period in 2023 (€14.93).

Among the 25 EU member states that receive these imports, Germany is the largest importer with 170,500 tonnes or 62 percent of the total. This is followed by France with just over 13 percent, Poland with 10.3 percent and the Netherlands with 13,500 tonnes or 4.9 percent. The remaining countries import 1.5 percent or less during this period.

Russian pollock imports EU

Image: EUMOFA

Concerns about incorrect labelling of Russian fish

Einar Gustafsson, CEO of American Seafoods, sharply criticized Russian business practices in an interview with Morgunblaðið. He pointed out that American Seafoods is a major producer of pollock products.

Gustafsson criticized Russian trade practices, saying: “The Russians label everything as pollock. Imagine if they tried to export Bordeaux wine grown in Crimea to France – it would be thrown out at the border. We need the same treatment for mislabeled Russian seafood entering the EU.”

This situation underlines the need for strict measures to ensure that seafood entering the EU market meets sustainability and traceability standards. The call for action aims to prevent Russian seafood from undermining the EU’s market integrity and sustainability efforts.