Results of Russian fish and seafood imports in January-September 2023

October 27, 2023 17:11

In January-September 2023 Russian finfish and other seafood imports jumped by 36% in value and 48% in volume year-on-year, according to the recent market analysis of Defa group – a fish and seafood supplier based in Saint Petersburg. 

The import volume rose by about 100 thousand metric tons to 350 thousand MT. Positive trends have been observed in all major product categories except for white fish fillets, surimi and hake. 


The total import of salmons in the first nine months of 2023 jumped by a little more than 46% or 23 thousand tons worth ca.510 million USD.

The main drivers behind the growth were still the same as in the first half of the current year, namely chilled Turkish trout and frozen Chilean salmon fillets.

The total import of salmon from Chile in volume terms increased by 55% and amounted to ca.35 thousand tonnes. The increase in value was slightly higher – about 57% to ca.295 million US dollars. The rise both in value and in volume was recorded for all salmon products, but first for all for salmon fillets and HGT and frozen trout.

According to the Chilean General Customs Administration, the total export of salmon and trout to Russia in January-September 2023 amounted to ca.35 thousand MT. Russia was on the fifth place among the importers of Chilean salmon, the first place was taken by the USA with 187,000 MT, No.2 – Brazil with 95,000 MT, No.3 – Japan with 77,000 MT and No.4 – China with 42,000 MT.

Trout imports from Turkey increased by 54% in volume and by 35% in value.

Besides, imports of coho salmon through the first nine months of the year grew by 38% in volume and already exceeded the total volume through the year 2022 by 10%.


In January-September 2023, the total import of pelagic fish from the Atlantic Ocean increased by more than 30 thousand tons (+84%) in volume terms. In value, the total import of pelagic jumped by 126% or ca.60 million US dollars.

Mackerel and capelin remain the main drivers of growth. According to the poll results, analysts of Rosselkhozbank named mackerel the most popular fish product in Russia.

There is a decrease of about 60% in herring fillets. Imported sliced herring is not in demand.

At the same time, the downward trend for whole herring has stopped and the product has been even showing a slight increase (+2%) year-on-year. According to the data of the industry monitoring system, the total herring catch in the Russian Far East as per early October amounted to more than 284.5 thousand MT. Despite the strongly increased export of Russian herring to China (+31%) the Russia herring market keeps showing trends towards import substitution. According to Defa forecasts, due to the higher catches of Russian fishing companies, the share of herring imports will decrease and will be replaced by domestic production.


The import of shellfish and other non-finfish in the first nine months of the year increased by ca.44% in value and by 65% in volume. The maximum growth was recorded for crustaceans and mussels.

For squid, the increase was 26%, mainly due to dried squid, a dominating import article in terms of volume.

For octopuses, the imports kept on falling by 57% to 1,000 MT through the first three quarters of 2023. The structure of imports remained on a par as compared to last year and was represented by baby and large octopuses almost in half.

For mussels, there was a double increase in relation to the same period last year. In the import structure, 2/3 was accounted for mussel meat, the remaining share was contributed by half shell mussels.

Total shrimp imports for Jan-Sep 2023 jumped by more than 80% to more than 60 thousand MT.

For white vannamei shrimp, the increase was 110% in volume and 81% in value (to 280 million dollars). As for the country of origin in the first nine months of 2023, India was the leader, contributing more than 35%. It was followed by Ecuador with a share of a bit less than 30% on the second place and Saudi Arabia – 10%.

The import of northern shrimp for 9 months of 2023 as compared to the same period of last year decreased by 6% and amounted to a bit more than a third of last year's volumes.

Langoustines are the leaders of growth among all types of shrimp: its import volume jumped almost 4.5 times.

White fish

Total imports of white fish fillets decreased by almost 15 million USD. In volume terms, the white fish import amounted to no more than 12 thousand tons (-25%). As for the results of the first nine months of the year, the downward trend in tilapia and pangasius imports was still there: -41% and -43% in value and -25% and -30% in volume.

In January-September 2023, the total import of sea bass and sea bream increased by almost 25% by $ 8.8 million, and in volume terms the increase was more than 35%, or 2.5 thousand tons. The growth was first of all a result of an increase in the volume of supplies of frozen sea bass and sea bream. Imports of chilled sea bass and sea bream fillets also showed an upward trend, namely a double rise for sea bream fillets and a 4-fold rise for chilled fillets.

The import of hake fillets continues to decline, it decreased by 25% YOY and amounted to a little more than 600 metric tons. Through the first nine months, hake fillets imports amounted to a little more than 2 million dollars. The major share was represented by Argentinean hake, the import of which went two-fold down YOY. Exports from Ecuador replaced exports from Peru, but the shipments still remained small (ca.4%). Also, supplies from China continued to grow (16%).

HGT hake show a slight decrease in physical terms, about 0,1%, and amount to ca.11 thousand tons. The main driver of the decline is Peru, whose imports to Russia grew from 2019 to 2021 inclusive, and last year decreased by 50%. Now the decline in imports is already more than 95%. In the first three quarters of 2023 the hake import from Uruguay shows a double increase of imports. Hake shipments from Argentina was almost 8 thousand tons (-1% year-on-year).

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