Skip to main content

Russian aquaculture production leaps by 11 per cent

The Russian government is pushing for aquaculture development, but progress is hindered by lack of investment and outdated equipment and technologies.
The Russian government is pushing for aquaculture development, but progress is hindered by lack of investment and outdated equipment and technologies.

Aquaculture production in Russia reached 172,100 tonnes last year, an 11 per cent increase on 2015, according to the latest data from the USDA Foreign Agriculture Service.

Freshwater aquaculture accounts for almost 85 per cent of production and mariculture for 15 per cent. Carp dominates freshwater aquaculture (77 per cent), followed by sturgeon and salmon. Salmon species (75 per cent) lead mariculture production, followed by molluscs (17 per cent).

Locally produced salmon became more popular following Russia’s restrictions on imports of salmon from Norway, the major supplier of salmon to Russia.

The Russian government continues to push for the sector’s further development; however, lack of investment, outdated equipment and production technologies, as well as scarcity of feed and brooding stock, are major constraints to further development. Russia’s share of world aquaculture production is estimated at only 0.2 per cent.

Vast water resources

The report states that Russia has vast water resources that are suitable for aquaculture development. However, only a small part of these resources are currently utilised. Russia’s water resources include: more than 20 million hectares of lakes, approximately five million hectares of water storage, nearly half a million hectares of offshore sea strips, more than one million hectares of agricultural ponds, and almost 150,000 hectares of fisheries waters. Significant water reservoirs are located in the Siberian, North-Western and Ural Federal Districts. In addition, the total area of offshore strips in the Barents, White, Azov, Black, Caspian and Far Eastern seas is estimated at 38 million hectares.

Increased demand for stock and feeds

Currently fish farms occupy only about 110,000 hectares of fisheries ponds, and 25,000 hectares of offshore strips for production of aquatic organisms. The Federal Fisheries Agency (FFA) reports that starting from last year, 146 investment projects for a total investment of 66.6 billion rubles are under implementation in aquaculture. According to the FFA, there are 3,500 fish farms managing 3,800 fishing sites with a total area of 400,000 hectares in Russia. Typically, these are small farms with an annual production capacity of 500 MT of fish.

In an effort to stimulate further development of the sector, in 2016 FFA allocated an additional 700 water sites for industrial fish farms with a total area of 39,500 hectares. Expansion of the area for fish breeding will result in an increased demand for brooding stock and feeds.