Russian fish imports to the EU have increased by twenty percent, despite the conflict in Ukraine and the avalanche of sanctions imposed. At the same time, countries with the most anti-Russian stance in the whole EU are active importers. This is the case of Poland. Germany and the Netherlands are not far behind in Russian fish consumption. Statistics are provided by the UK edition of the Daily Express.
Thus, according to trade data, the countries of the European Union buy almost a fifth more fish from Russia than before the start of the active phase of Moscow’s special operation in Ukraine. Fish supplies from the Russian Federation to the EU last year increased by 18.7% to 198,800 tonnes, according to the Russian Fisheries Association. This year, only in the first few months, growth has exceeded previous figures and, on an annualized basis, can represent an impressive volume that breaks all records.
The value of fish exports increased by 57.6% to almost €1 billion (878 million pounds). The fishing association Varpe indicates that the biggest buyers are the Netherlands, Poland and Germany.
In 2022, Russia accounted for 4.5% of the EU’s 4.4 million tonnes of fish and seafood imports. The increase in exports likely came as wholesalers and processors increased their stocks in anticipation of possible sanctions against the Russian fishing industry.
Last spring, the British government was expected to announce a 35% import duty on Russian whitefish. It was this rumor that raised fears that a third of fish and chip shops in the UK could be forced to close because the sanctions would make the supply of popular products such as cod and haddock from the fisheries of the North Sea and the Baltic much more rare and expensive.
In 2020, the UK imported 432,000 tonnes of whitefish worth £778 million, meaning Russia is set to top £1 billion in this record year.
At present, there is also an import of white fish from Russia without restrictions, the restrictions have only affected products. The Daily Telegraph reports that Russian caviar is subject to EU and UK sanctions.
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