According to Minister for Rural Affairs Urmas Kruuse Estonia is looking for alternative markets due to Russia's ban on imports of Estonian fish products, the most important of which is Ukraine.
«The importing ban imposed on Estonian and Latvian fish industries by Russia is clearly part of the embargo which was imposed on European Union food products in last August. Then the export of frozen sprat and Baltic herring, which is a very important raw material for the Russian industry, was stopped. Canned fish and fish preservatives had probably been left off the list,» Kruuse told BNS.
According to Kruuse the most important alternative market is Ukraine and the Chinese market is also open for fish products. He added that it has to be definitely considered how the fish sector could be supported from the 2014-2020 measures of the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF).
The Ministry of Agriculture is planning several measures to be carried out during the new EMFF period, for instance support for finding new markets.
«At present Estonia has two months to answer to the report submitted by Russia but I wouldn't dare to be very optimistic. I am soon planning to meet with representatives of the fish sector to together discuss possible scenarios for the future,» Kruuse said.
According to the minister he wants to stress again that the products of Estonian fish processing enterprises meet all the requirements of the European Union and Estonia and are safe for consumers.
The Russian food safety watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor announced on Wednesday it would ban the import of fish and fish products from Estonia and Latvia as of June 4.
Inspectors of Rosselkhoznadzor inspected four Estonian fish processing enterprises on May 17-23. At the same time they also inspected Latvian fish enterprises.
The Russian agency announced on Thursday it would also ban the transit of fish from the Baltic countries and poultry from the U.S. going to Kazakhstan.