Alaska Delegation: U.S. Should Push Back Against Russian Seafood Boycott

Lawmakers Urge Action as Russia Uses Food as a Weapon

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Alaska’s Congressional Delegation today reached out to the White House, encouraging strong and immediate action from the administration to respond to Russia’s boycott of American food imports, including seafood.  In a letter (attached) to the White House, Senators Lisa Murkowski and Mark Begich and Congressman Don Young suggest America increase the intensity of its negotiations with Russia, and if needed, that the nation respond with a ban on Russian seafood imports  They write:

Our purpose here is to ask that your Administration respond to the Russian action with a two-step process.  First, we ask that you use all diplomatic means available to persuade the Russians to immediately rescind the seafood import ban.  Second, if Russia fails to comply, we ask that a ban be imposed on Russian seafood imports to the United States. We do not make this request lightly as there is significant seafood trade between the two countries, but in light of the direct impact on our constituent’s interests we believe it is necessary for the U.S. to respond quickly and emphatically.  It was the Russian government that decided to use food, in addition to energy resources, as economic weapons, and inaction should not be an option.

This approach to Russia’s political brinksmanship has strong support from Alaska’s seafood industry.  Among those endorsing the ban include Alaska General Seafoods, Alyeska Seafoods, Icicle Seafoods, North Pacific Seafoods, Ocean Beauty Seafoods, Peter Pan Seafoods, Trident Seafoods, UniSea, Westward Seafoods, and the members of the Alaska Bering Sea Crabbers.

"We did not start this fight, and we hope the Russians will call off their embargo. But a U.S. ban will signal to President Putin that America will not sit idly by while Russia disregards international law and tries to coerce the world into ignoring its transgressions through retaliatory actions," said Terry Shaff, President & CEO of UniSea Inc.