Packing salmon fillets at Sekkingstad processing plant. (Photo: Odin Hjellestad/FIS)
Govt bans seafood from 13 Norwegian exporters
Friday, May 04, 2012, 04:10 (GMT + 9)
Russian veterinary agency Rosselkhoznadzor has imposed an embargo on 13 Norwegian fish suppliers over “non-compliance of the product with demands of Russia and Customs Union” (CU).
Earlier this year, the Customs Union sent a group of veterinary experts to Norway to examine the acting surveillance system for fish, fish products and sea products exported from that country. Inspectors found several significant deficiencies, according to the Russian agency.
The decision was announced following futile negotiations of the Russian and Norwegian veterinary agencies in late April, during which the Norwegian party did not provide any information on the removal of the relevant deficiencies, Barents Nova reports.
“Due to repeated detections of products that do not conform to the demands of Russia and the Customs union, in consideration to the inspection made in February 2012, and due to an increased risk of unsafe sea products supply, starting 5 May, Rosselkhoznadzor suspends imports of chilled fish into Russia from several companies,” Rosslekhoznadzor wrote.
|Filleting farmed Atlantic salmon. (Photo:O.Hjellestad)
The ban list includes 13 companies including Nova Sea AS, Mainstream Norway AS and Austevoll Laksepakkeri AS.
Aleksander Saveliev, a spokesperson for Federal Fishery Agency, claims the ban will not affect Russian buyers.
"Last year, Russia exported its far-east salmon to pacific countries almost as much as Russia imports it from Norway. If it becomes necessary, the product gap on the domestic market will be filled," he stated.
Odd Lorentz Strøm, a managing director of Nova Sea AS, called the Russian market’s action peculiar.
“We have good relations with our Russian customers. The special thing about Russia is that it is the government that comes up with their claims but not those who receive the products,” Strøm said.
In autumn 2005, Nova Sea’s fish products were blocked on suspicion of heavy metal contamination, although it was never proven that the contamination existed.
The Norwegian food safety authority will implement measures prescribed by the Russian party immediately and will respond shortly.
“If retained for too long, the ban may turn down businesses of many Russian importers of chilled Norwegian salmon,” cautioned Sergey Gudkov, the executive director of Rybny Soyuz [Fishery Union] association.
The only company whose business remains unaffected is the Russian Fishery Company (associated within Russkoye More) as far as its suppliers are not on the ban list, Gudkov said.
Rosslekhoznadzor has not specified the length of the embargo.
By Natalia Real