Press Releases

DelBene, Graves, Peltola, Wittman Call on Biden to Expand Sanctions on Russia’s Seafood Sector

Today, Representatives Suzan DelBene (WA-01), Garret Graves (LA-06), Mary Peltola (AK-At-Large), and Rob Whittman (VA-01) led 38 members of Congress in urging President Biden to strengthen U.S. sanctions targeting Russia’s seafood sector.

The seafood industry is a major driver of Russia’s economy and has become a critical source of revenue for the Kremlin since the invasion began. To hold Russia accountable for its continued aggression, President Biden issued an Executive Order in March 2022 banning Russian-origin seafood and other revenue-generating Russian products from entering the United States. However, Russia has largely been able to side-step this ban by exporting its seafood to third countries for processing before entering the United States.

In a bipartisan letter, the lawmakers called on the Biden administration to address this loophole by expanding sanctions to cover Russian-harvested seafood, even if it is processed in third countries.

“New executive action to ensure U.S. sanctions apply to all Russian-harvested seafood—regardless of its movement through third countries—is an important step to drain Putin’s war chest and bring an end to this disastrous war,” the lawmakers wrote. “Excluding all Russian-harvested seafood from the U.S. market would impose immediate consequences on the Russian economy.”

Through October of this year, Russian exports to China are up more than 30% compared to last year and have more than doubled since 2021. Vast quantities of Russian-harvested seafood that is processed in China continue to enter the U.S. market as a “product of China” at a duty-free rate. Russia’s total seafood exports this year are already estimated at over $5 billion in value, and the Kremlin is raising record sums off this trade through fishing quota auctions, export tariffs, and increased fishing activity.

A copy of the letter can be found here.