Editor’s pick: Sanctions send Russia’s seafood tycoon scrambling, no escape from price inflation and a glimpse of Cargill’s plans

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Good morning all —

Another week of Ukraine-dominated coverage as Putin’s assaults wreak havoc not only on the people of Ukraine, but also on how seafood is bought and sold.

A blow for a Russian seafood tycoon

The biggest bombshell came on Thursday, when a new US Treasury Department sanctions list was released. Among the names was the owner of one of Alaska’s largest suppliers of pollock, cod and crab.

He quickly sold off his holdings, with an explanation that made no mention of Ukraine, sanctions or a panic sell-off.

Kim Gorton, CEO of American seafood supplier Slate Gorton. Photo: IntraFish

Import suspension

The United States has given American importers some respite, announcing that a previous deadline for importing products of Russian origin will be extended. But the industry sees clear writing on the wall.

Slade Gorton CEO Kim Gorton said the industry needs to reevaluate how and where seafood will be processed.

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To make the change or not?

Changing species is easier said than done. Young’s Seafood and Nomad Foods (which owns Birds Eye and Iglo), two big giants that together make the majority of Russian pollock bought for retail brand frozen fish products in Europe, both said they were re-examining their chains supply or had plans in place, which looks a lot like play for time.

Frozen fish makers have been silent about plans to buy Russia. Photo: IntraFish

Inflation

As Ukraine is one of the largest producers of wheat for the aquaculture feed industry, the ravages of war will significantly reduce production. A leader fears a ripple effect that will last a long time.

In (sort of) non-Ukrainian news, inflation continues to push prices to extremely high levels. Atlantic cod prices, despite increased catches, continue to rise. Alaska pollock hits peaks in 15 years. Salmon prices are at what buyers call unsustainable levels.

Mergers & Acquisitions

Mergers and acquisitions have been a bit quiet over the past two weeks. Cargill, of course, changed that last week with its purchase of Chilean salmon farmer Multi X. But what exactly has the agricultural giant planned? We asked the manager.

Last week also saw a strange one, as the world’s largest seafood company by revenue, Maruha Nichiro, bought an American frozen food start-up.

But a lot of money is waiting in the wings to be deployed. This Norwegian group, which manages 4 billion dollars (3.6 billion euros) of investments, sees interesting opportunities at the intersection of aquaculture and technology.

DNB’s Line Asker is one of the executives responsible for interpreting the EU taxonomy for the seafood industry. Photo: DNB

Breaking the new green rules

The EU’s taxonomy system is one of the most confusing new regulatory changes in years since the bloc. And that means something.

We explored what this means and how seafood will be affected.

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