Russia’s seafood market gearing up to make another big leap: AQUACULTURE

April 10, 2007 10:07
A new phase of development of domestic aquaculture is emerging in the year 2007 declared a "Fish Year" by the Ministry of Agriculture and due to incorporation of domestic aquaculture into the National Project "Development of Agro-industrial Complex" operating under the umbrella of First Deputy Prime Minister D. Medvedev.

Soft credits are being made available for boosting the industry's material and technical base and specifically this year 2.6 billion RUR have been earmarked for this project as soft government credit facilities for a term of 5 and 8 years.

Meanwhile in Russia the aquaculture's share in providing the population with fish is minimal contributing only 115 000 metric tons, a mere fraction of the total wild catch. Due to market pressures and lack of less expensive financing, since 1991 to 2006 fish-farming volumes in Russia have decreased 3.5 times and with the current big cash injection the industry is gearing up to reverse the process.

At the moment in Russia fish is farmed in ponds, cages and in closed recirculation systems. Maximum demand for live fish is generated by chain stores and restaurants of big cities.

Pond farms can be operated in the most part of Russia, including six piscicultural areas: Krasnodar and Stavropol Territories, Astrakhan and Rostov Regions, Karelia, Murmansk and Leningrad Regions.

Pond farms are suitable not only for farming of carp and herbivorous fish, but also for production of stocking material of Coregonus whitefish, pike perch and tench. In the overall farming structure the sturgeons, trout and various species of carp account for approximately 85% of the output. In order to produce large fish, farms from the first and the second piscicultural areas have to use a three-year cycle causing higher cost of production.

In Russia 14 species of carp have been developed. There are also several varieties of trout and sturgeon hybrids. The share of sturgeon in the total amounts to 3 % (or 2.5 thousand metric tons), share of salmon, trout and similar is 9 % (or 40 thousand tons).

According to the investment analytical group of "Norge-Fish", in order to set up a fish farming facility, more than 10-15 thousand USD would have to be spent on permits and licenses while delivery of stocking material and land improvement would cost another 50-60 thousand USD. Among the production costs the main share is contributed by fish feeds (50-60 % on average).

Maximum demand for fish is observed in large cities with more than one million inhabitants and the so-called oil and gas cities.

It is projected that the domestic aquaculture output should hit 260 thousand metric tons in 2010 (the figure reached in the USSR).

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