Are you eating Russian fish? Imports slip through a loophole involving China, says Sen. Dan Sullivan

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U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan is at it for a second year, trying to stop Russian seafood from flooding the U.S. grocery freezers. Although there is a presidential-level prohibition in place, Russia slips millions of tons of seafood to the American consumer through another country, typically China.

The loophole in the law is the subject of Sullivan’s U.S-Russian Federation Seafood Reciprocity Act of 2023. Over 18 months ago, Sullivan first attempted to pass his U.S-Russian Federation Seafood Reciprocity Act by unanimous consent, but the bill was blocked by Senate Democrats.

The current version was blocked Thursday by Sen. Ed Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, just like it was last year.

Markey’s own state seafood industry is not supporting him in his opposition to Sullivan’s legislation. In February, the Massachusetts Seafood Collaborative called upon elected leaders to sanction Russian seafood imports. The Massachusetts Seafood Collaborative is a group of harvesters, processors and wholesalers who admit they profit off of such imports, but the group said it would stand on its values.

“Let us not forget, Massachusetts was the cradle of our own fight for independence against an imperial power, therefore, to do anything other than stand in solidarity with the courageous Ukrainian people would be to betray our values,” the collaborative said in a statement. “Therefore, we are calling on our elected officials to immediately sanction Russian fish exports into the US. We are happy to sacrifice our own economic interests for the interests of a people under siege. We are proud to do our small part in combating evil and aggression and to stand with Ukraine.”

Sullivan said to continue to allow these fish to slip through is to support Russian oligarchs, and that is against America’s interests.

“If you’re a big fisherman in Massachusetts or the great state of Alaska…you cannot export one fish to Russia. Nine years of a ban. And guess what? The United States lets Russian seafood into America almost duty free … That is called unfair by any measure,” Sullivan said last year, when he first introduced the measure.

“If you’re against this bill, you’re for Russian oligarchs who are still avoiding sanctions on seafood, you’re against the American fishermen whether in Alaska or Massachusetts – because they’re getting screwed by this uneven trade relationship – and you’re helping the Chinese. I can’t imagine anyone being against this,” he said last week on the Senate floor.

The bill tackles the issue of Russia-origin seafood that has been reprocessed in China other countries and subsequently imported into the United States. The importing of Russia seafood undermines America’s fishing families, strengthens Russia, and aids the Putin war machine.

Sullivan’s bill broadens the application of President Joe Biden’s executive order, which only banned “unaltered” imports of seafood from Russia. Now, the Russians simply launder their seafood through China, which has no such restriction.

Russia has made strides in building modern industrial super-trawlers that plunder the ocean, hauling in hundreds of tons of seafood a day in an indiscriminate way with their massive nets. The ships have not only catch capabilities, they have processing machinery and freezers on board — all with efficiencies that are said to be devastating to the ocean’s food chain.

Russia has had a prohibition on the import of U.S. seafood products since 2014, after U.S. sanctions were imposed by the Obama Administration in response to the Russian invasion and annexation of the Crimean Peninsula. Since 2018, Sen. Sullivan has made sanctions on Russian overfishing and importation to the United States a priority.

25 COMMENTS

  1. China pays the Big Guy and the Russians pay China. Big Guy isn’t gonna do anything to disrupt the gravy train.

    Pretty simple, actually.

  2. We may not have a choice. Our fishing fleets are being shut down in the name of low fish runs and climate change. I imagine many of these fish are caught just outside the 200 mile exclusion zone. Lisa Murkowski is taking money from Biden to pay fishermen not to work. The longer ships sit idle and no one is taking up the trade, the more dependent we’ll be.

  3. Is there anything the Democrats won’t block? Why would a Mass. Sen. not do the right thing for his constituents?! Does he have an interest in a Russian seafood venture?? Makes you wonder….

  4. Maybe(?), the Russian Oligarchs bought themselves some US Democrat Senators, and possibly a few (if not all) US Democrat Congressmen? I hear that they’re all ‘For Sale’ at a reasonable $10K a pop! If you’re a Russian Oligarch, I’m sure you can afford to buy a lot of Senators and Congressmen, I’m guessing the entire Democrat Team and their Staff // Family Members for real cheap!
    Just follow the money and I’m guessing you’l find there’s a lot of folks, including any-and-all middle handlers such as the Chinese, getting paid-off to keep this loop hole in place.

  5. This egregious demonization of Russia, and Russians, is just the Republican, right-wing version and mirror image of the radical left’s virtue-signaling. Like their kneejerk flag-waving and pro-police-state “Dissent is Treason” messaging in the immediate aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

    • You nailed it, Jefferson. Not once can I recall Sullivan calling for use of the Navy to sink Chinese vessels illegally harvesting Alaskan fish.

      If this bloviating goof wants to go stand with Ukraine or any other foreign country then he should resign and hop on a plane at his own expense to go stand with them alongside the rest of the globalists and neocons but this feckless posturing of his is utterly loathsome.

      • Because Swampy is smart enough to not start a war we can’t win over a fishing trawler.

        Curious how often you advocate the most extreme response to nearly any issue.

  6. “Are you eating Russian fish?…….”
    Frankly, maybe the question should be, “Are you eating American/Canadian chinook served up by Russians?”

    • “……..We can’t survive without a global economy……..”
      Actually, we can. Easily. In fact, the globe needs us way more than we need them.
      “………We will need both some day to fight the aliens…….”
      Neither have a Space Force branch. And, coincidentally, all this UFO/UAP social talk started………immediately after Donald Trump stood up our Space Force. Isn’t that remarkable? Create a new military branch, and *presto* along comes a threat to face off. Please appropriate money…………

      • You are so wrong and well every way. First of all the Russians are way ahead of us and they’re thinking and what they do in space. We’ve been talking about aliens long before trump had orange hair. We need globalization. We can’t fight the whole world but on the other hand the whole world can fight us. Russia China the Middle East, India half of South America and most of Africa are against us. Unless you’re going to sit around here eating peanut butter on a spoon, you better start looking at the big picture and open your mind. China has gone on to develop their own space station. Far more Superior than our dated one that they can’t even keep leaks stopped up. Both China and Russia have hyper missiles that we are trying to copy. They’re all bigger thinkers than we are. Our society has become lazy and complicit.

        • “……Russia China the Middle East, India half of South America and most of Africa are against us…….”
          LOL! Big deal. Russia can’t even pack enough petrol and food to march to Kiev, let alone Kansas. Your other boogermen have no expeditionary forces whatsoever. If they left their national borders, they’d get lost. We’ve been taking care of 65% of the planetary security for the past half century.
          Let them eat fish heads…….if they can scare some up……..

      • Maybe we can, but not today. We’ve offshored so much it would cripple a to go cold turkey.

        A planned retreat, maybe.

        But though out history global (as they understood the globe) trade has always been practiced.

        • “Maybe we can, but not today……..”
          Today. Right now. Watch and see.
          While the Left was busy attacking Trump, and the Right was busy crying about it, he completely restructured NAFTA………precisely what they were trying to stop him from doing. Globalization is dead. North America needs nobody else. In fact, the rest of the planet will soon be hating us (again) because we aren’t rescuing them (yet again) from their own fecklessness.

    • So? People need to eat. Not every one has the luxury of harvesting their own fish and if we can keep the shelves stocked with affordable food, then so be it.

  7. So, we’re supposed to be up in arms, screaming bloody murder about this all the while our own CIA attempted to buy a coup with several billions of “found” money, which went straight to Russia. But hey, that was money well spent, right?

  8. You don’t think those cheap prices for fresh/frozen seafood at COSTCO are from 100% U.S. waters (within the 15 mile limit)?

  9. The fish that I eat are ONLY english speaking fish. American english, to be specific…

    Hat tip to Jefferson and Aunt Sally.

  10. Oh nooooooooooooooo Russian Fish! Those dirty rotten Russian Basterds! Is there anything they won’t corrupt?

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