Washington (CNN)A trade decision by the Trump administration has inadvertently protected a price advantage enjoyed by Russian-caught fish sold in the US, much of which ends up in fish sticks served to American school children.
For years, Alaskan fishermen have been frustrated by foreign competition from Russia, particularly in the lucrative pollock market. Caught in Russian waters, this cold-water cousin of the cod is processed in China before being sold in the US for use in frozen and breaded fish products, as well as imitation crab meat.
Russian pollock costs less than its US-caught equivalent. That’s helped it gain share of the roughly $200 million US market for frozen pollock, to the point that by 2017, about half the fish sticks served in US school cafeterias were made from fish caught in Russia and pumped with additives in China, according to the Genuine Alaska Pollock Producers, a trade group that represents 14 different seafood companies.
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