Big rise for Russia’s production of Atlantic salmon and rainbow trout

December 11, 2020 20:36

In the first nine months of 2020 Russian salmon and trout farms considerably increased production volumes year-on-year growing faster than the overall nation’s aquaculture, reports

According to Russia’s Federal Agency for Fisheries, output of Russia’s aquaculture for the period under review exceeded 238 thousand tonnes, rising by 18% on 2019.

The sector is represented by more than 3,300 companies with a total staff exceeding 13,200 people. More than 60% of farmed fish production in 2019 was contributed by pond farms and ranching operations (both using few technical means at all stages of cultivation). The remaining 40% of products came from commercial intensive farms, with 16.1% of farmed fish grown in cages and 1.5% - in RAS systems.

Many Russian fish farms are yet to grow to an industrial scale, because now more than half of farms belong to small or even micro businesses producing less than 10 tons of fish per year.


Salmonids ( Atlantic salmon and rainbow trout) are the fastest growing segment. During January-September 2020 Russia’s production of farmed salmonids rose to 92.8 thousand metric tons, 25% up as compared to the respective result of 2019.

Murmansk region remains the nation’s top producer of salmon and trout with its 39.5 thousand tonnes, 13.4 thousand tonnes up year-on-year.

Neighboring Karelia increased farmed trout production by 3.3 thousand tonnes to 32.7 thousand tonnes. Leningrad region surrounding St Petersburg produced 10.4 thousand tonnes of salmonids, 1.2 thousand tonnes up year-on-year. In the Republic of North Ossetia-Alania, production jumped nearly 2.5 times from 900 tonnes to 2,200 tonnes.

Krasnoyarsk Territory (East Siberia) also showed a production rise, namely +400 tonnes to 1.6 thousand tonnes.

Salmon and trout production contributes 32% to the total output in Russia’s commercial aquaculture.

Over the last five years (from 2015 to 2019) farmed salmonids production in Russia has doubled from 44.9 thousand tonnes to 90.8 thousand tonnes.

Commenting on the prospects of Russia’s salmon and trout aquaculture the nation’s fishery industry head Ilya Shestakov says that salmonids farming is one of the strategic sectors of commercial aquaculture with a big potential in terms of import substitution. Salmon and trout products enjoy a steady demand both on the domestic and on the international markets and the Russian fishery industry authorities have set it as a goal to saturate the Russian market with domestic products. Production rise will make farmed fish available to a wider range of consumers.


The complex project called "Salmonids culture" was made a part of the nation’s Strategy for the development of the fishery complex until 2030 as approved in November 2019.

According to the Strategy, farmed fish production in Northwest Russia (Murmansk, Arkhangelsk, Karelia, Saint Petersburg, Kaliningrad) can not exceed the limit of 120 thousand tonnes, which is connected with natural restrictions on fish farms’ location and the need to comply with ecosafety standards. Some 30 thousand tonnes to be added to the current level of ca.90 thousand MT will be provided by new RAS farms. Implementation of the Salmonids Culture complex project will make it necessary to organize production of stocking material and specialized feeds.

As for salmon cage farming in the Far Eastern fishery basin, by 2030 at least 20 new fish hatcheries will be put into operation to produce chum salmon fry in the amount of at least 1.6 billion individuals per year. This will give an annual surplus of at least 100 thousand tonnes to the total commodity production.

The development of salmonids culture in Russia is highly dependent on imports of stocking material and feeds. Nowadays, 90% of stocking material is imported from abroad, for instance, 50% of fertilized eggs come from Norway, and 85% of salmon and trout feeds are also imported. The leading suppliers are Norway and Denmark, with the two companies Skretting (Norway) and BioMar (Denmark) holding 80% of the market.

Russian fish farmers import technology, equipment and stocking material, mostly from Norway, which is a close neighbour and partner. In other words, Russian investments go to Norway. And in their turn the Norwegian investors could also regard the Russian aquaculture as a field for future investments, noted deputy fishery head Vasily Sokolov when speaking at a recent Russian-Norwegian conference on co-operation and investment in aquaculture.

To reduce its dependence on imports, Russia is keen on opening hatcheries and expanding production of compound feeds. More specifically, in Karelia a hatchery is being built, and in the Republic of North Ossetia-Alania a similar project is at the planning stage now. In Murmansk, the issue of opening a breeding centre for Atlantic salmon is under consideration.

There are plans of building aquafeed facilities in the regions of Voronezh and Yaroslavl; while in the Leningrad Region surrounding Saint Petersburg they have resumed production of fish feeds.

Vasily Sokolov noted that the Norwegian experience will be very useful for the development of domestic feed production. Salmonid farms now need more than 150 thousand tons of feed per year. In 2021 this figure will grow to 200 thousand tons, and by 2030 it may exceed 400 thousand tons.

Joint Russian-Norwegian projects in the feed sector will be feasible and promising. Within the framework of the Norwegian-Russian Chamber of Commerce, the so-called Russian Aquacluster has been created to unite 15 leading Norwegian companies in the field of aquaculture and focused on cooperation with Russia. This cluster includes businesses operating in all segments of the industry - from fish eggs production and biotechnology to specialized industry financing.

“We invite our partners to invest in Russia. This is especially relevant under the conditions of the pandemic - uncertainty at borders and in foreign markets. From our side, we are ready to provide maximum support and stimulate the business towards localization of production,” noted Vasily Sokolov. According to the deputy head of Rosrybolovstvo, the issue of limiting imports of fish feeds is on the agenda now as a means of encouraging construction of feed plants inside Russia.

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