Russian Aquaculture to invest €20 million in new smolt plant

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Move will reduce dependence of Norwegian fry imports.

Russian aquaculture is planning a new RUB 1.5 billion (EUR 20 million) smolt plant, reports Agroinvestor.

Russian Aquaculture produces around 18,000 tonnes of salmon and trout on the Kola peninsula, the far northwest of Russia. Among the owners of the company are Maksim Vorobyov, the brother of the governor of Moscow.

Minister of fisheries and agriculture of the region Andrei Ivanov explained that the plant has been greenlit in the Murmansk region, northwestern Russia, but the company had not yet established a location near the Barents Sea yet.

Up until now, Russian Aquaculture has relied on smolts grown in Norway for their country’s operations.

Read more: Salmon to account for 37% of all Russian aquaculture by 2030

Last November, SalmomBusiness reported that Russian Aquaculture had invested EUR 10.4 million into Norwegian salmon farmer Øyralaks, which the Russians acquired in 2017. Øyralaks is the owner of Villa Smolt. The money is being used for new production buildings and new farming tanks.

“The Russians are completely dependent on the smolt we supply from Moltu, and this investment shows how important Norwegian knowledge and aquaculture product is. We are very pleased with this development,” said Villa Smolt CEO Magnus Lillestøl at the time.

Managing partner of Agro & Food Communication Ilya Bereznyuk explained to the publication that Russian companies rely on importing small quantities of fry mainly from Norway, but it is not always easy to order it and it is subject to duty. “Fry is usually ordered at least a year before the stocking of cages. And these are quite large volumes: one cage is about 160-180 thousand individuals, one farm consists of six to eight cages. That is, only one farm needs 1-1.5 million pieces of fry. Finding such volumes and it can be difficult to contract in advance. Plus, when plants are located in another country, there are difficulties with quality control,” added Bereznyuk.