Mar 3rd, 2022
6 mins

The situation with the impact on food supply due to the Ukraine conflict remains quite unclear but we are aware that there could be impacts on frozen white fish, notably:

  • Alaskan Pollock – Russia has 50% of the total catch in the Baring Straights.
  • Cod and Haddock – also originate from Russia and if not shipped directly, may come via eastern European countries or China.

Fish manufacturers/processors could be severely affected, either indirectly or directly if Russian vessels are unable to be paid.

Other foodstuffs which may be impacted are:

  • Sunflower Oil – Russia accounts for almost 60% of the world production, although our contacts suggest the impact could be some time being seen.
  • Flour – significant production volumes in both Russia and Ukraine.

We’ve heard through a member that sanctions on food are not being planned but we are trying to get this confirmed by Defra. However, restrictions on the movement of shipping may impact the movement of goods. The following is an assessment by Seafish focusing on the impact of fish:

Many seafood businesses are worried about possible sanctions. The situation right now is that:

  • There are no sanctions on seafood of Russian origin.
  • Future sanctions can’t be ruled out.
  • If there are going to be sanctions on Russia, we don’t know what the nature of those sanctions will be, but they might include a ban on the importation of all fish of Russian origin, including Russian fish processed in China.

Sanctions on ships are in force. According to Government guidance:

“The Regulations also confer powers on the Secretary of State and harbour authorities to detain Russian ships or specified ships at ports or anchorages.

Russian ships include:

  • a ship owned, controlled, chartered or operated by a designated person
  • a ship owned, controlled, chartered or operated by persons connected with Russia
  • a ship registered in Russia, or
  • a ship flying the flag of Russia”

We don’t believe that many Russian flagged vessels unload frozen food in the UK. However, the concept of ships “owned, controlled, chartered or operated…” by people with Russian connections is an area we are less sure about in terms of import operations.

Seafish have heard that some business are finding it difficult to obtain supplies from Russian partners because of money transfer sanctions.

Also, they have heard that some shipping companies are refusing to pick up goods from Russian ports. This means that the product would have to route out via Asia, which will contribute to delays.

Defra and UK Government departments have been told that they cannot engage with Russia or any other country in the Eurasian Economic Union (Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan) and engagement with Ukraine is not possible.

However, businesses can contact the Export Support Service: if they have any queries related to Russia or Ukraine.

Further information on the impact on the UK seafood supply chain can be found in a Seafish report recently submitted to Defra

BFFF continue to closely monitor the situation and will bring you updates as soon as they are available.





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