Russia bans products from three Norwegian salmon producers27 October, 2011 –
RUSSIA has banned products from three Norwegian farmed salmon and trout producers – claiming that the country’s veterinary service has found evidence of listeria in the fish.
The move has baffled the suppliers and observers in Oslo believe it may be in retaliation for the arrest of a Russian trawler off the coast of Svalbard (Spitzbergen) a few days ago for illegally dumping fish. The vessel, the Sapphire II, was escorted to Tromso where the owners were fined 405,000 Norwegian kroners (about £50,000 sterling).
Afterwards, Russia reacted angrily to the arrest with the Russian Federal Fisheries Agency saying that Russia would not stand idly by if there were further arrests. The salmon and trout companies affected said that their products undergo rigorous inspections by the Norwegian authorities who have not found any evidence of listeria. It is the sort of retaliation that some Norwegian producers had feared. Russia is a major buyer of Norwegian salmon and Norwegian fish in general. The market is worth more than 600 million euros a year to Norway. But Norway has strict rules governing fishing in its waters and the dumping of fish is strictly forbidden. It is not only salmon farmers who are worried about international relations. Both Norway and Russia fish in each other’s waters and a few weeks ago Norwegian fishing vessel owners said that fisheries co-operation between the two countries was still not working satisfactorily. Because of this the owners said Norwegian skippers were reluctant to go too far into the Russian zone. The association has called on the Norwegian government to demand that Russia puts in a balanced and transparent regulatory system when this year’s quota negotiations take place. It also wants rapid procedures for informing fishing companies when there are important changes in legislation or fishing regulations