How the West Coast seafood industry feels the impact of the war in Ukraine

By Brian Bull, KLCC

The economic ripple effects of Russia’s war against Ukraine have been felt for more than a year. This includes the West Coast’s seafood industry.

Before Russian forces invaded Ukraine in February 2022, American exports of Pacific hake – or whiting – to Ukraine added up to nearly $95 million worth of fish. But that market’s been gutted in wake of the ongoing hostilities.

“The war in Ukraine, compounded with various trade restrictions that we’ve been dealing with Russia, have just really put into jeopardy our biggest market for Pacific Hake, which is really the bread and butter for a lot of seafood processors here on the West Coast,” said Lori Steele, executive director of the West Coast Seafood Processors Association.

The wartime blow comes as many seafood suppliers and processors are recuperating from the pandemic’s disruption over the last three years. Seafood processors and suppliers are hopeful that congressional support will compel the U.S. Department of Agriculture to purchase such fish products for a third year.

“The USDA supplies food banks, assistance programs around the country,” Steele said. “So they’re really viewing this as an opportunity to take some of these products that are largely exported and start introducing them to domestic customers and really growing the consumer base for some of these products here in the United States.”

Read the full story at KLCC.