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Russian production growth might be partly faked

January 10, 2023  By Hatchery International staff

Production figures shared by government agencies for the Russian aquaculture industry might not fully correspond to reality, the Russian newspaper, Kommersant, reported. 

There seems to be disparities between declared production and actual sales. In 2021, Russian fish farmers declared production of 130,000 tonnes of salmon, while the sales of farmed salmon ranged between 50,000 to 60,000 tonnes, as estimated by Herman Zverev, president of the Russian union of fishermen, Varpe.

Roman Vityazev, chairman of the Far East union of mariculture organisations, said seafood production in his region, according to official statistical data, expanded from 6,900 in 2016 to 57,000 in 2021. However, this growth was accompanied by a moderate rise in sales from 1,300 to 2,100 tonnes. 

The report suggests one possible explanation for this phenomenon could be associated with a lack of control over production performance at the Russian farms. On the other hand, fish farmers have clear incentives to exaggerate their production figures. Kommersant explained that the Russian federal agency for fisheries, Rosrybolovstvo, might terminate a rent contract with a fish farmer, if it fails to increase production. 


In 2021, Russian aquaculture production reached 356,600 tonnes, 8.5 per cent up compared the previous year. The industry saw its output nearly double during the previous decade. By 2030, the Russian government expects this figure to reach 500,000 tonnes. In addition, the production of salmon should jump from 120,000 tonnes to 250,000 tonnes. 

Rosrybolovstvo is said to be working on an electronic traceability system to make the Russian fish industry more transparent, but there is no clarity as to when it might be introduced.

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