Cooke Aqua accused of price-gouging Russians on Chilean salmon

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Alliance claims fish pumped with antibiotics

From IntraFish: Cooke Aquaculture is the latest seafood company to come into the crossfire of Russian authorities, with members of the Russian Fish Alliance accusing the company of ramping up prices and reeling in huge profits through Chilean subsidiary Salmones Cupquelan.

With the Russian ban on import of seafood from the European Union, the United States, Canada, Norway and Australia having been in force since August, Chilean Salmones Cupquelan, owned by the $1 billion New Brunswick multi-national, continues to profit from the sale of salmon into Russia, Alexey Aronov, executive director at the Fish Alliance, told IntraFish.

Price jumps due to undue speculation reached 35 percent on the Russian salmon market.’

The group, which represents major Russian seafood processors and traders, sent a letter to veterinary watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor, claiming Salmones Cupquelan is using the imports embargo for price speculation on the Russian fish market, and is allegedly supplying salmon pumped with antibiotics. “According to our information, the risk of salmon diseases has increased in the past year,” Aronova said. “In order to prevent illnesses, the company actively uses large quantities of antibiotics of American origin. This fish comes to the Russian market.’

Fish Alliance is now asking Rosselkhoznadzor to extend its inspections, currently limited to Chilean processing plants, to include fish farms.

“Salmones Cupquelan is the only company that doesn’t have processing and frozen fish plants, but only owns farms the letter to Rosselkhoznadzor, signed by Vitaly Kornev, president of the Fish Alliance, claimed. it complicates the process of monitoring the quality of fish grown on its farms. We ask you to tighten control over the products of Salmones Cupquelan.”

Cooke exported 4,500 metric tons of frozen salmon worth $281 million (€22.7 million) to Russia in 2013, Aronov claimed, giving it a strong presence on the country’s frozen salmon market.

In response to the allegations, Andres Fuentes Belmar, general manager at Salmones Cupquelan, told IntraFish the company has implemented industry leading fish health and environmental standards over the past few years.

“We supply discerning customers from around the world with products from Chile that meet the highest global standards for fish quality,” he said in an email.

Belmar did not comment on whether or not Salmones Cupquelan or Cooke has been contacted by Russian authorities on the matter.

http://www.intrafish.com/news/article1398937.ece

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