An illegal Russian fish cartel has been colluding with authorities to muscle Norwegian imports out of the market, some Norwegian fishers have alleged.
Russia's enormous seafood market is an appealing target for any fisheries, but several Norwegian exporters say their products are being refused due to the efforts of an illegal Russian fish cartel. And according to The Local, a report from Russia's competition authorities says the charges are totally true.
For the past several weeks, enormous quantities of Norwegian cod, pollock, herring, and mackerel meant for Russia have been turned away due to a "high bacterial content." But Russia's veterinary agency was unable to produce evidence to the bacterial content when the competition authority investigated. According to the resulting report, the veterinary authority had agreed to help out Russian importers and producers by preventing Norwegian fish from getting into the market by claiming the bacteria levels were too high.
One Norwegian exporter, Arne Aarhus of salmon purveyor Ocean Quality, said two Russian importers had threatened that would happen if his company did not sign an exclusive agreement with them.
"It was said to us that if we signed contracts, we would never get problems with the Russian veterinary authority," he said. "On the other hand, if we didn't sign these agreements, the results of laboratory analyses would prove to be 'bad,' and export of products from our factories to Russia would be subject to a ban."