Russian fish prices will be stable in 2014 amid confidence that fishermen will increase their catch, government official says

MOSCOW , January 16, 2014 () – Fish prices will be stable in Russia in 2014, Federal Fisheries Agency (Rosrybolovstvo) head Andrei Krainy said.

"I am sure that Russian fishermen will continue to increase their catch, so I think that the prices will be stable this year," Krainy said in an interview with Russian newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta published Thursday.

He said that fish prices did not increase much in 2013. "Consumer prices for fish and seafood, on average, remained less than overall inflation - at around 6%," he said. "There are of course spikes which we could do without in certain species, for example, 15% for herring and 40% for chilled Norwegian salmon," he said.

Overall, however, fish continues to be the most accessible protein product in Russia, as it is much cheaper than meat and people are eating more and more of it.

At the same time, Krainy said the price for herring, which is the most popular type of fish in Russia, may rise 7%-10%. The Russian quota for Atlantic herring fell 33% in 2013, as did imports. Export grew, however.

"According to the Federal Customs Service, Russia's Far East exported 60-some percent more herring than in 2012," Krainy said. "The thing is - exporting to foreign countries is more convenient and profitable. This is where it is necessary to give fishermen economic incentives to bring their fish to Russian ports. And this is why it is necessary to eliminate administrative barriers, especially costly and unnecessary veterinary control."

Krainy said that at a meeting in London this year with international partners, Rosrybolovstvo will try to achieve a higher herring quota. The Pacific herring catch, which grew considerably last year, will remain at its previous level this year. "Russia will have plenty of herring," he said.

The market size of herring has traditionally been 500,000-550,000 tonnes in Russia. Last year it fell to 400,000 tonnes.

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