Tuesday, December 2, 2014

02/12/2014: Scottish Mackerel May Never Make it Back to Russia

Ongoing trade restrictions between Moscow and Brussels may leave the Scottish mackerel without a chance of returning to Russian stores, Sputnik reports.

This may sound insignificant to some – until they realise this little fish is worth a whopping 16 million pounds. Russia’s forced counter-sanctions on the EU have disrupted the decades-long relations between Scottish fishermen and Russian seafood lovers.

The latest ban on importing certain edible items to Russia disrupted a fifth of Scottish mackerel sales worth around £16 million a year. This loss dropped mackerel prices and forced the industry watchdog to allow fishermen to bank up to 25 percent of this year’s fishing quota for 2015.

“Hopefully we won’t need to use this option, but it is vital that the banking facility is in place as we don’t want to be in a situation where cold stores are full and our boats are catching excellent quality fish that ends up for fishmeal,” said Ian Gatt, chief executive of the Scottish Pelagic Fishermen’s Association. 

Scottish fish marketers are currently diversifying trade roots to Africa and Asia but their niche in Russia has already been taken by Iceland, Greenland and the Faroe Islands, who were not affected by any trade countermeasures from Russia. But many fear that even when sanctions are lifted, the market segment – which existed for decades with trade flourishing even during the Cold War – may already be forever lost to the Scots.

In August Moscow imposed a one-year ban on importing food items from European Union members as well as the US, Canada, Norway and Australia in response to sanctions from these countries following the Crimea’s West-opposed reunion with Russia.

While it’s clear that the politicians involved have much bigger fish to fry, the Scots making their living off mackerel exports are clearly in deep water.  

Read the original article HERE.

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