The share of salmon in Russia’s aquaculture is set to rise to over a third (37%), according to development plans for the sector drawn up by the government, the deputy head of the Federal Agency for Fishery Vasily Sokolov told Tass on March 13.
"We want to change the species structure of aquaculture. As you see, we [now] have 65% of carp breeding. A different goal is set in our strategy by 2030, that is, salmons should account for at least 37% [in fish farming], because these are the most valuable and promising targets, from our point of view," Sokolov told the agency.
The official said that other species would also be introduced into the business, particularly whitefish.
Fish has been a booming business and has attracted the attention of several oligarchs, who have invested in new fish farms.
Fish farmers bred 239,000 tonnes of fish in 2018, Sokolov said. The Southern Federal District takes the lead. The second is the Northwestern Federal District comprising Karelia, which sits on the Gulf Stream and has water warm enough for salmon, despite the freezing winters. It accounts for 88% of trout grown in the country. Salmon breeding reached 28% but carp farming in Southern Russia is still in the leading position, the official said.
The huge amount of water that can be provided to the business is the key factor in aquaculture development, Sokolov noted. The agency plans to convert all auctions of water areas to be allocated into the electronic format, similar to sea areas, he said.
Russia caught 5mn tonnes of fish in 2018 — a post Soviet record, Sokolov told reporters on November 20. The sturgeon catch in Russia in 2018 reached 675,000 tonnes – an all-time record and the biggest catch in over 100 years. The fishing business is flourishing as bne IntelliNews profiled in a cover story “Russia’s fishy business” in February 2018.