Alaska Politicians Float Russian Fish Embargo

Tuesday, August 26 2014

Lauren Rosenthal/KUCB

Alaska’s congressional delegation is pressing for a quick resolution to the country's seafood standoff with Russia.

The politicians sent a letter to President Barack Obama today, asking him to pick up the pace of negotiations so Russia will drop their import ban on American fish. But if diplomats can’t make that happen, the Alaska delegation wants to see a ban on Russian seafood entering the United States.

“We do not make this request lightly as there is significant seafood trade between the two countries," the letter reads. "But in light of the direct impact on our constituent’s [sic] interests we believe it is necessary for the U.S. to respond quickly and emphatically.”

An emphatic response is exactly what some Alaska seafood companies are hoping for. Ten of them started lobbying for a retaliatory ban last week, with tougher limits than what Russia has laid out.

In theory, about $328 million worth of fish is on the line. That's what Russia's exports to the United States were worth in 2013.

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