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Russian aquaculture firm to expand Volny hatchery


December 4, 2020
By Eugene Gerden

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Russian aquaculture firm LLC “Kanif,” based in Sakhalin Island, is planning a significant expansion of its flagship fish hatchery this year, according to a company spokesperson.

The plant, known as Volny, currently specializes in the production of chum and pink salmon and is located at the mouth of the Volnaya River in the Nevelsky District.

Volny’s current production capacity is around 15 million, 10 million of which are chum salmon, and five million are pink salmon. This capacity will be expanded over the next several years as part of the new investment into the company.

According to Viktor Pogodin, Volny’s chief fish breeder, the hatchery uses production technology that is significantly different from other similar plants in Russia and abroad.

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The technology used in the hatchery allows it to maintain a higher concentration of eggs – up to 120,000 – per square meter. This is about eight to nine times higher concentration than traditional hatcheries.

Another novelty, according to Pogodin, is that the flow of water is provided from the bottom upwards, which is contrary to the typical setup in hatcheries, and similar to those in the natural habitat. According to Pogodin, the use of such scheme ensures increased output of the facility.

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The fish breeding cycle takes nine months. Egg planting begins in mid-September, and the incubation process, on the average, lasts about two months, depending on the temperature.

So far, two-and-a-half million eggs have been laid in the incubators of the Volny hatchery. When the larvae reaches the juvenile stage, they will be moved for further growing in an open-air pool, where they will spend several more months before being released into their natural habitat.

Chum salmon fry are fed for about 40 days until it reaches a weight of 0.8 grams.

“We want to bring the weight of juveniles closer to one gram,” Pogodin said. “When releasing juveniles, it is important to take into account the state of the sea. There is a need to avoid storms and low water temperature. On our coast, the water warms up and does not cool much (the temperature is no more than 14 degrees), so the fry can be released until mid-July.”

Remote location
Sakhalin is the largest island in Russia. The Volny hatchery is situated close to the spawning river of Volnaya. Due to the facility’s remoteness, hatchery workers work on a rotation basis. The company has also built two staff houses, with electricity and an autonomous generator.

The amount of investment for the planned expansion of the Volny hatchery was not disclosed – but majority of the funds will be sources privately by the company, and the remaining portion will be provided by the Sakhalin Island government.


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