Environmental advocacy group Oceana is calling on the US government to work harder to ban Russian seafood from entering the United States.
Last month, US President Joe Biden issued an executive order banning the import of Russian seafood as part of a broader sanctions package in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The USA imported more than US$1.2 billion/~€1.1 billion of crab, cod and other fish from Russia in 2021, according to Oceana.
The problem is, Russian trawlers offload a lot of their catch in other countries, making it difficult to trace exactly who caught the fish when they arrive on US shores. And a lot of those countries haven’t explicitly banned port access or fishing by Russian vessels, an Oceana fact sheet states.
According to Dr. Marla Valentine, illegal fishing and transparency campaign manager at Oceana:
“Withdrawing port access, denying fishing rights, and banning imports can be powerful sanctions in addition to banning seafood from Russia. The countries identified in Oceana’s analysis, especially those most frequented by Russian vessels, should decide whether Russia’s actions in Ukraine warrant the continued privilege of port access or fishing in their waters. For any ban on Russian seafood to be effective, there must be boat-to- plate traceability for all seafood.”
Beth Lowell, Oceana’s acting vice president for the United States, said:
“Oceana applauds President Biden’s ban on Russian seafood imports to ensure Americans are not supporting the devastating and senseless attack on Ukraine. In order to ensure that Russian seafood does not reach our borders or our plates, we need to expand documentation and traceability requirements for all seafood. Russian-caught seafood may be sent to other countries like China for processing, so it is imperative that the U.S. has a clear picture of both where fish is caught and the path it took to get to the U.S. to ensure that Russian products are truly banned from the U.S.”
The US House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water, Oceans and Wildlife held a hearing this week on the problems with implementing the ban on Russian seafood imports. Check it out below.