Twelve South African companies have begun exporting fish to Russia. The first commercial exports of canned and frozen fish to the Russian Federation resumed on 5 November but are only expected to to get fully underway in early 2015.

This follows an embargo by Russia on many imported foodstuffs including fish, meat, fruit. cheese and dairy products, from the US, EU member countries including the United Kingdom, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Spain, Germany, Italy and France, Norway (not a member of the EU but a major fish exporter to Russia), Australia and Canada.

The Russian Federation embargo is in place until August 2015, but Prime Minister, Dmitry Medvedev, has left the door open for the normalisation of trade relations “if our partners display a conscientious approach toward co-operation issues.”(The Moscow food import ban is valued at more than USD9 billion a year)

The 12 new licences have gone to Sea Harvest, Viking Fishing, Irvin and Johnson Limited, Compass Challenger (the Oceana Group) and Pioneer Fishing, plus Abagold Ltd, GSA Trades (Pty) Ltd., Harvest Atlantic Peace, Kaytrad Coldstore, LAVERNE, Marine Products and Sea Vuna Fishing Company Pty Ltd.


Full diplomatic relations between Russia and South Africa have been in force since 1992 and the legal platform for the Russian-South African relations in trade and economy launched the following year with the Agreement on Trade and Economic Cooperation.

South Africa’s total fish exports in 2012 were valued at R3.5 billion but this could increase were Russia to henceforth to up the fishing ante in South Africa’s favour.