Record Fish Sales to Belarus Bypassing Russian Embargo Help Norway Survive the Oil Slump


March 3, 2016

Translated by Kristina Kharlova

Export of Norwegian fish products in January 2016 amounted to 6.7 billion Norwegian crowns (782 million U.S. dollars), up 18% from the same period last year, according to Norwegian Committee on fish.

The supply of trout increased by 124% to 294 million Norwegian kroner. The main buyers in this segment — Belarus (primarily for re-export to Russia), Poland and USA.

According to estimates by the Norwegian Committee on fish, under trade restrictions and ban on export of fish to Russia, the achieved results exceeded all expectations. “Weak Norwegian Krone in combination, in particular, with a good demand for fresh products has led to a new export record,” explains the Director of the Committee Terje Martinussen.

Recall that in August 2014, Russia in response to sanctions from a number of European countries imposed a ban on food imports from the European Union countries, USA, Australia, Canada and Norway. As previously reported by IA REGNUM, during the year of sanctions regime, export from Norway to Russia decreased by almost 80%. From 2011 to 2013, Russia was the main export market for Norwegian fish. According to the Norwegian side, in July 2014, i.e. before the introduction of the ban on export deliveries of fish and seafood to Russia amounted to 76 million U.S. dollars.

It should be noted that the fishing industry is the second largest sector of the Norwegian economy after oil industry, but salmon is one of the major exports after oil and gas. In late January, Bloomberg news agency reported that the average fish weighing 4.5 kgs in NOK is more expensive than a barrel of oil. Norwegian company-salmon producer Nordlaks called the current prices “fantastic.” According to the company, they are two times higher than previously predicted by market analysts.


The export of fish and fish products from Norway have shown record results in 2015, reports AFP.

Fish exports reached 7.75 billion euros in 2015, 8% more than in 2014 and 100% more than it was a decade ago, according to the Center for marine products of Norway, responsible for marketing of Norwegian seafood.

It is emphasized that the high level of exports was achieved despite the Russian embargo on Norwegian fish. Prior to the embargo in August 2014, Russia was the largest importer of Norwegian fish.

The Rosselkhoznadzor [Russian Agro-monitoring]  has announced enhanced monitoring of Belarusian dairy and fish products exported to Russia. Federal agency is concerned about the sharp increase of deliveries to Belarus of food from countries hit by retaliatory sanctions from Russia.


Norwegian fish suppliers found detours for their products, banned from import into Russia: salmon and trout is imported to Belarus and the Baltic States, where the fish receives a new customs code, which opens the way to the Russian market, writes Norwegian newspaper Dagens Naeringsliv.

According to the newspaper, during the first week of September 2014, exports of fresh salmon from Norway to Belarus increased three times.


The volume of exports of trout from Norway has increased by 10% by July of 2014 and amounted to NOK 213 million. Belarus became the main importer of the Norwegian trout.

According to the Norwegian Council for seafood export, exports of fish products from Norway to Russia last year decreased by 55% compared with 2013, while exports to Belarus increased by as much as 75%.

In 2014 “Belarusian food offshore” was created in Belarus through which contraband is shipped to the Russian market. These deliveries, which undermine the regime of retaliatory sanctions of Russian Federation, are carried out both by Belarusian and Russian companies.

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