Russia plans to catch 220 million pounds of crab in 2021 as it expands its fishing fleet

More trade inequities will bite into Alaska salmon and crab sales next year. That’s alongside the ongoing 38 percent average tariff paid to China for nearly all U.S. seafood.

The newest is a 25 to 35 percent tariff imposed November 10 on U.S. salmon going to the 27 countries that comprise the European Union. The dispute stems from U.S. subsidies being paid to Boeing and competing European aircraft.

In 2019, Alaska exported over $30.4 million in frozen salmon fillets to the EU. 

Allen Kimball is head of global and domestic sales for Trident Seafoods.

“It is going to have an effect on our ability to get wild salmon into the European Union. With that kind of tariff, it’s going to make it pretty darn tough.”  

Also – Russia has just announced that it will continue its food embargo through 2021.

Russia stopped buying foods from the U.S. and many other countries in 2014 over their protests to its invasion of Ukraine. Yet, U.S. purchases of Russian seafood have continued to grow.

In 2019, Russia sent over 80 million pounds of seafood to the U.S. valued at nearly $700 million. Undercurrent News reports that is a 7.4% increase in volume and a nearly 20% increase in value over 2018. Most of that is Russian-caught red king crab, snow crab and sockeye salmon.

So far this year, Russia has sent 1.3 million pounds of frozen red king crab to the U.S. valued at nearly $268 million, close to 3.7 million pounds of snow crab valued at over $282.4 million and over one million pounds of sockeye salmon worth $3.4 million. All enters the country nearly duty free. Mark Palmer is CEO of OBI Seafoods –

“The disappointing thing is that Russia has open access to our markets and we don’t have any restrictions on Russian products entering our market. And that’s something thing that I just don’t understand the fairness of this. We would rather just see open markets. We will compete against anyone. But if they’re not going to give us access to their market, they shouldn’t have unfettered access to ours.”

Meanwhile, reports that Russian crabbers are upping the ante for 2021 and they plan to catch almost 220 million pounds of mostly king and snow crab.

By comparison, Alaska’s Bering Sea catch for golden and red king crab, Tanners and snow crab for the 2020/21 season totals under 50 million pounds.