Riled by Russia's embargo on food imports, a group of leading Alaskan seafood producers are urging the U.S. government to slap a retaliatory ban on Russian seafood exports to the U.S.
"Such a move would not only further squeeze Russia's faltering economy as Russia threatens European stability, but would support America's sustainable, high-quality fisheries," the companies said in a statement.
After months of progressive sanctions on Russian individuals and companies over Russia's policy in Ukraine, the U.S., along with a number of its allies, was struck earlier this month by a retaliatory Russian embargo on fish, beef, pork, poultry, fruit, vegetables and dairy imports.
The embargo could cost U.S. seafood producers at least $350 million a year, ITAR-Tass reported Friday, citing unidentified sources. Alaska's entire seafood market is worth $6 billion, according to the statement.
Russian purchases were 7 percent of total U.S. food exports in the first five months of this year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Russia had previously been a major market for U.S. salmon, roe, hake, Alaskan pollock and other products. The U.S. in turn imports crab, Russian pollock, salmon, caviar and more from Russia, the statement said.
The industry intends on drumming up support for the ban in the Alaskan congressional delegation and the U.S. Trade Representative.