Hatchery International

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Sanctions have not derailed the Russian aquaculture development

June 13, 2023  By Hatchery International staff

Russian hatcheries scale up operations (Photo: Belsky Hatchery)

In the first quarter of 2023, Russia saw an 18.4 per cent hike in aquacultural industry production compared with the previous year to 181,400 tonnes, the Russian federal agency for fisheries Rosrybolovstvo reported. Market participants said that Russian fish farmers had overcome most of the challenges brought on the back of Western sanctions last year and even benefited from a slump in fish import to the country. 

Most growth comes from the salmon (Salmo salar) segment, where production jumped by 28 per cent to 71,000 tonnes. In addition, the seafood segment also experienced a 13.5 per cent rise in output to 63,300 tonnes. Russian aquaculture production has the potential to grow to 1 million tonnes per year, Rosrybolovstvo said, adding that the country has a vast opportunity to scale up this industry thanks to access to 14 seas and three oceans. 

In 2022, Russian aquaculture production totalled 383,500 tonnes, rising by 7.5 per cent compared with the previous year, Rosrybolovstvo estimated. Last year was the first since Soviet times when salmon production became the largest segment of the Russian aquacultural industry. In the earlier decades, the industry was dominated by pond-type carp (Cyprinus) farms, but recent years saw a surge in investment activity in new segments. 

Russian aquaculture is perking up (Photo: Dinsky fish farm)

Andrey Golokhvastov, general director of the Russian think tank Agroconsult, told local publication Agroinvestor that the salmon segment remains of the greatest interest to investors seeking new opportunities in the Russian fish farming industry, as imports to the country slumped due to sanctions. On the other hand, he added, it is not clear how the product performance in the industry is estimated, echoing concerns expressed by other market participants that the production and sales figures on the Russian fish market often don’t add up. 

The Russian agricultural bank Rosselhozbank has recently issued a forecast under which the Russian aquacultural production will reach 430,000 tonnes in 2023 and 620,000 tonnes by 2030. On the other hand, Agroinvestor reported, citing local market participants, that the industry still faces substantial challenges, and its high dependence on imported broodstock, fish and technology still persists. 

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