Exports jumped last year following Beijing’s ban on seafood from Japan

Russian crab exports to China soared by more than a third last year, official statistics show. The Asian nation has become the main buyer of fish products from Russia’s Far East following Beijing’s ban on all seafood imports from Japan.

Vladivostok-based company Russian Crab is “conquering” the Chinese market, having exported 33% more of the seafood to the Asian nation in 2023 than in the previous year, the Russian Export Center (REC), a government agency tasked with facilitating the sale of Russian goods abroad, said in a statement on Monday. In 2024, the company plans to further boost exports of live and frozen produce to the Asia Pacific region, REC added.

Russian Crab is the largest crab fishing company in Russia’s Far East, with an annual quota of 182,000 tons in the Bering Sea, the Sea of Okhotsk and the Sea of Japan (known to Koreans as the East Sea.)

Russia boosted deliveries of marine produce to China after Beijing imposed a ban on imports of all seafood from Japan in response to Tokyo’s discharge into the ocean last August of treated radioactive wastewater from the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant.

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Seafood exports from Russia’s fish-rich Far Eastern Primorsky and Sakhalin federal districts surged 72% last year, according to Rosselkhoznadzor, the regulator responsible for food safety. China became the main buyer of fish products from Russia’s Far East, followed by South Korea, Nigeria and Japan.

China became Russia’s largest trade partner in 2023 after Moscow redirected many of its exports to the East due to Western sanctions. Last December, the US targeted imports of Russian-caught seafood processed in third-party countries, in a toughening of initial restrictions on Russian fish and seafood imports imposed in March 2022.

Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said on Monday that the government will allocate more than three billion rubles ($33.8 million) to speed up the construction of 13 fishing vessels currently at shipyards in the country’s Far East.

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