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Russia targets major expansion into EU pollock market

Country’s fishery agency mulls fivefold increase in pollock exports by shifting to value-added products.

Russia’s federal agency for fishery, Rosrybolovstvo, plans to create a framework to allow companies to increase pollock exports to the European Union by shifting toward secondary processed products.

"We plan to sharply change the structure of domestic seafood production focusing on value-added products [VAP]," Ilya Shestakov, head of Rosrybolovstvo, told IntraFish.

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The production of pollock fillets, mince and other finished products, as well as meal and oil processing could expand Russia's fishing and processing sector by more than RUB 40 billion (€658.9 million/697.7 million), driving the share of Russian pollock in the European seafood market from the current 8 to 40 percent, Shestakov said.

The European seafood market is of big interest for Russian producers, given that EU countries are the main consumers of pollock.

In 2016, the country’s pollock harvest grew 7.2 percent over the previous year to 1.74 million metric tons, making up 37 percent of Russia’s total seafood catch.

Pollock exports increased 1.6 percent to 781,900 metric tons.

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As part of its effort to expand its foreign seafood markets, Rosrybolovstvo will double the number of participants at the upcoming Brussels Seafood Expo in April to 22 companies.

"The leading Russian exporters involved in fishing and fish processing will be represented at the Russian stand," Olga Shchedrova, a spokesperson for Rosrybolovstvo, told IntraFish.

Among them will be Ocean Trawlers, Nakhodka Active Marine Fishery Base, Russian Fishery Company, Preobrazhenskaya Base of Trawling Fleet and Arkhangelsk Trawl Fleet.

During the 2016 Brussels Seafood Expo, Russian companies reached agreements on seafood exports and equipment purchasing agreements worth approximately $100 million (€93.4 million) in total, according to Rosrybolovstvo.

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