Kuril Islands build new Pacific salmon hatcheries
Russian fish company Continent has launched a new Svetlana hatchery for breeding Pacific salmon broodstock on the Iturup Island of the Kuril Archipelago.
The new hatchery has a designed production performance of 60 million units of salmon fry per year. Its investment cost is estimated at 150 million rubles (US$2.2 million), the regional government said in a statement on its website.
Iturup Island is one of four of the Kuril Islands chain, disputed between Russia and Japan since World War II. Japan considers Iturup as part of Nemuro Subprefecture of Hokkaido Prefecture.
This is the second salmon hatchery launched in the Kuril Islands in 2022 and the 72nd in operation in the region. Sakhalin Oblast, which includes the Kuril Archipelago, is believed to house the biggest number of fish hatcheries among all Russian regions.
Ivan Radchenko, Minister of Fisheries of the Sakhalin Oblast, said the regional fish industry steadily ramps up production. The 1,200 square meters hatchery has been built in record time, only 3.5 months. Svetlana will partly operate on solar energy, generating power from several photovoltaic panels installed on the rooftop.
“The main feature of the hatchery is that thanks to the compactness of the equipment, we managed to establish production of 60 million pieces of fry [per year] on a relatively small area,” Nikolai Lakhin, the chief fish farmer of Continent said, adding that the company produced a part of the equipment itself.
“The Sakhalin region is the leader in the Russian Federation in terms of the reproduction of Pacific salmon, and our enterprises continue to gain pace,” Radchenko added.
Sakhalin hatcheries boost output primarily to aid the regional fishing industry. Salmon fry released to the sea secures a rise in the Pacific salmon population. In several years, adult salmon will return to the region for spawning and end up in fishermen’s nets. Despite that, the stocks of salmon in the Russian Far East remain rather unstable. In 2021, Russian fishermen caught 511,000 tonnes of salmon, much lower compared to the record-breaking 2018, when the production reached 676,000 tonnes.