October 3, 2003



Russian Salmon Market Closing In On Japan, Germany


Exports of Norwegian salmon to Russia may very well overtake those from Japan and Germany in no time. As Norway's fifth largest market for salmon, Russia has drawn the big boys in the industry with its ever surging consumption of the oily fish. 


Fish producers and exporters from all over the world are now drawn to the booming Russian market for seafood, with some even using Russia as a launching pad for what they see as a land of opportunity westwards - in the emerging markets of Eastern Europe.


Russia has increased its imports of fresh salmon by a sensational 147 per cent by the end of September, according to a report by the Norwegian Seafood Export Council and Statistics Norway. This is in sharp contrast to observations not too long ago that northerly world's largest market was only keen on the frozen variety and even then demand for this had practically froze over as well. Imports of both fresh and frozen salmon totalled 15,246 tonnes by the end of September, with corresponding increases in demand for fresh salmon  in transit countries Latvia (+114 per cent) and Estonia (+46 per cent).


But herein lies the fishy business. It is not unheard of for exporters to get their fingers burnt setting shop in the country's salmon market. On a lighter note, the country has seen an improvement in its financial risk status in recent years.