Russian Aquaculture (RA) will invest RUB 13 billion (US$ 198 million) in the implementation of a major aquaculture project in Murmansk Oblast. The project includes creation of a large hatchery with a projected annual production of 12 million Atlantic salmon smolts.
As explained by Russian Aquaculture’s head, Dmitry Dongauer, the construction of the hatchery will enable the company to meet the demand of nine fish farms to be built in Murmansk Oblast by 2020. When completed they would bring the company’s capacity for the production of Atlantic salmon from the current 4,000 tonnes to 21,000 tonnes per year.
At the same time he explained that the actual capacity of the hatchery is still unknown, even though its construction should be launched in the end of 2015.
"In the model which we are currently working with, we will build the hatchery for our own needs. At the same time, we are negotiating with the government on their possible support for the project. If the state will help, it will provide the seeding material for other market participants as well," Dongauer explained.
According to company management the current demand for Atlantic salmon fry is steadily growing owing to state measures for development of aquaculture in the region. At the same time a number of organizations expressed interest in this product for recreational purposes – to improve local biological systems in the coastal waters of Kola Peninsula.
According to Dongauer, the vast majority of smolts are currently imported from Norway and Finland. However, owing to the devaluation of the Russian ruble against the euro this practice has become quite expensive.
In 2014, deliveries of Atlantic salmon smolts from Norway were banned within the so-called food embargo imposed by the government. However, after the request of some market participants, who stated that such a move could destroy the country’s salmon producers, smolt were removed from the sanction list.