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Deficit in feed a major hurdle for Russian aquaculture

The development of aquaculture in Russia is far below its potential, according to USDA. Current annual production is estimated at 160,000 MT, which is just 3-4 per cent of the country’s total fish and seafood production. Lack of government support, outdated equipment and production technologies, as well as a deficit in feed, are major constraints to further development of the sector.

March 9, 2016

The development of aquaculture in Russia is far below its potential, according to USDA. Current annual production is estimated at 160,000 MT, which is just 3-4 per cent of the country’s total fish and seafood production. Lack of government support, outdated equipment and production technologies, as well as a deficit in feed, are major constraints to further development of the sector.

Despite vast water resources suitable for fish and shellfish farming, the country accounts for just 0.2 percent of global aquaculture production. Carp is the main fish species raised in Russia, with an annual production of 110,000 MT in 2014.

According to the Federal Fisheries Agency (FFA) a state programme for the development of the fisheries sector to 2020 sets an objective for aquaculture production to reach 315,000 MT by 2020. Reaching this goal would require a 97 per cent increase in four years.

Currently, two major companies are making significant investments in the development of aquaculture: Russian Sea and Russian Salmon. The company Russian Sea started two salmon production facilities - one in the Barents Sea in 2012, and a trout farm in Karelia. Russia Sea is expected to produce 30,000 MT by 2018.

During the International Conference Aquaculture 2016 that took place during the ProdExpo food show in Moscow from February 8 - 11, 2016, speakers identified the following problems as constraints to the further development of the aquaculture sector in Russia:

  • Lack of feed and raw material for aquaculture production. (According to Vasiliy Sokolov, Deputy Head of FFA, production of aquaculture feed in Russia in 2015 is estimated at about 100,000 MT, while currently the demand for feed is 250,000 MT. The objectives stated in the federal program “On Development of the Fisheries Sector,” states that demand for feed will increase to between 400,000 MT and 450,000 MT by 2020)
  • Ineffective feeding techniques
  • Weak atomization and low labor efficiency on aquaculture farms
  • A challenging regulatory framework

Other challenges include:

  • Lack of financial tools and high interest rates on credits for business. 
  • Fifty percent of feed for aquaculture is imported. The cost of feed accounts for 70 percent of aquaculture total costs of production. In addition, obsolete feed production equipment is an obstacle to efficient feed production in Russia.
  • There are 40 facilities in Russia producing feed for aquaculture. However, only a few of these facilities have been renovated. Most plants are outdated and not equipped for production of highly advanced feeds.
  • Traditionally, the main component for fish feed is fishmeal, but Russia produces only a small amount of fishmeal. Even though Russia does not produce enough fishmeal to meet domestic demand, they still export fishmeal to China. Additionally, current Russian fishmeal production technologies are not efficient.
  • Russia does not produce juveniles and is therefore dependent on imports 
  • A lack of public awareness about domestically produced fish and no efforts to promote it.

Source: FIS.com. Read the full article here.

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