BRUSSELS, Belgium — Russian Far East shrimp catcher Magadanryba has seen a strong increase in its sales to China over the past two years, Evgenii Chernyshin, director of the firm’s commercial department, told Undercurrent News.

From sales of around 100 metric tons to the Asian giant in 2014, it now sells around 3,000t – “a good position in that market”, he said.China now makes up some 30% of the firm’s sales of Japan and Okhotsk Sea-caught coldwater shrimp.

30% goes to Japan, 20% domestically within Russia and 20% to other European markets. “We used to sell the majority to Japan, but more recently China has paid more,” he said.

Magadanryba is in the midst of renewing its fleet of eight vessels. It bought a modern vessel from a Norwegian company at the end of 2016, replacing the Melamud, which was destined to continue shrimp fishing for a Chinese firm.

It has also invested in renewing the on-board factories of three more vessels already, and in 2017 intends to purchase and fully modernize another vessel.

In terms of supply, Magadanryba expects stable landings of shrimp – of which it now catches three new species compared to its operations in 2014, said Chernyshin.

He does not expect prices to fluctuate far from where they currently stand; around $16 per kilogram for frozen borealis shrimp and $22/kg for “spot shrimp”, or pandalus hypsinotus, he said.

Towards the end of 2016 a Russian importer told Undercurrent that an influx of Russian-caught shrimp into the domestic market had meant plentiful supplies, but negative price trends.

“We have been facing Russian origin pandalus borealis from the Barents Sea, and pandalus goniurus from the Russian Far East. I have never seen such a picture since I have been in the industry.”

All signs at that time suggested 2017 would be “even tougher” for those who import coldwater shrimp into Russia from Greenland, he said.

Chernyshin confirmed that some of Magdanryba’s catches do compete with imported Greenlandic shrimp on the domestic market. It sells at a fixed price, which he added was good for the firm at the moment.

Greenland shrimp coming into Russia at the moment was priced at around $7/kg, he added.