Ukraine quadrupled trout imports after Belarus block

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Earlier this winter, Belarus stopped importing Norwegian trout. At the same time, neighbouring Ukraine is stepping up sharply.

Belarus was Norway’s largest buyer of farmed trout last year. However, the developing Eastern European country did not consume all the fish itself. Most of the fish was exported to Russia, with which the country has a common customs agreement.

Full stop
During Christmas, Russian veterinary authorities, Rosselkhoznadzor, announced that they would suspend certification for deliveries of Norwegian trout and salmon to Russia. On December 27, SalmonBusiness reported that Russia stopped the transit of salmon and trout through Belarus from January 9, 2020.

The reason was that Russian veterinary authorities have claimed that have repeatedly found banned and harmful substances in fish products made from Norwegian raw materials forwarded to Russia.

Russia imposed an import ban on Norwegian salmon and trout in August 2014, in the wake of the West’s economic sanctions against the country following the shooting down of a Malaysian passenger aircraft.

Import
However, a smaller volume of fish has been legal to import through the transit country of Belarus. Much of the imports have gone through the giant processing plant at Santa Bremor, on the outskirts of the border town of Brest. At the factory, 4,400 employees process salmon, herring, surimi, caviar, squid, shrimp and shells. In total, about 500 different products are offered, and these products are sold to more than 80 countries.

Now trout imports seem to have found other avenues, possibly also into Russia.

Ukraine has bought 887 tonnes of fresh trout so far this year. That’s more than quadrupled from the same period last year. By week six last year, Ukraine had imported 198 tonnes of trout in comparison, export statistics from the Norwegian Seafood Council show.

No single country has bought more Norwegian trout than just Ukraine in 2020. The sharp increase in imports has also happened at higher prices this year compared to last year.

Neighbouring Ukraine and Belarus both have borders with Russia.