Farmers in Karelia, the centre of Russian trout breeding, invest increasingly in value addition

EM3 19 AQ Karelia IMG 7144Quality and food safety distinguish trout products

The Republic of Karelia is known as the principle region for cold-water fish farming, and especially for rainbow trout. Karelia differs from other regions of the North-Western district of Russia by its natural conditions which include a large number of deep-water reservoirs with high-quality water at the right temperature.

In 2018, aquaculture companies in Karelia produced a total of 27 200 tonnes of farmed products (up 10% compared to 2017), including 18 200 tonnes of commercial fish (up by 1% to 2017). Rainbow trout represents nearly the entire volumes of farmed fish (99.98%), while the rest is represented by European whitefish and sturgeon. In addition, over 13 tonnes of mussels were farmed in the White Sea.

Processing fish improves competitiveness

Processing of aquaculture products is a very dynamic part of the fish farming industry of Karelia. Large fish farms with significant production volume inevitably come to the idea of building their own processing facilities. The expansion of processing lines and a focus on products with high added value can significantly improve the competitive edge of enterprises during times of volatile market conditions and enable funds for further investment. At present, there are 63 fish farming companies in Karelia, of which 14 have processing plants. The product range includes fresh gutted trout, frozen trout, smoked trout, salted trout, marinated trout, salted trout roe, preserves and other products.

Fish farm Kala i Maryapuyta has been farming rainbow trout in the waters of the two largest lakes of northern Karelia, Upper Kuyto and Nyuk, for nearly twenty years. The enterprise’s production is about 2 000 tonnes per year, and the production cycle is based on the traditions and practices of Finnish trout farmers. Focus is kept on the proper feeding of rainbow trout, control of its growth, and timely sorting. Trout processing is carried out in facilities with modern equipment, where product safety and control is ensured by a HACCP system. The company is constantly working to expand the range of its products: in addition to the traditional salted trout roe, and smoked and salted trout, the company has started to produce trout in various sauces and ready-to-cook products.

 

Processing facility built as fish production booms

The quality of trout products produced by the fish farm Fedorenko Nikolai Vladimirovich has repeatedly won gold and silver medals at Russian and international exhibitions. At the beginning of its activities in the Kondopoga in 1990, the volume of commercial fish was only 25 tonnes, whereas by 2018 production volume had grown to 1500 tonnes. In 2009, this entrepreneur opened a fish processing plant equipped with modern technology and a HACCP system.

A group of companies called Karelian Fish Plants, which includes Silver Onegi, Parade Plus, Karelian Fish Plants-PM, and Karelian Fish Plants-Korma, farm rainbow trout in the waters of the southern and central parts of Karelia. The companies have processing facilities equipped with modern technologies for cutting, salting, hot- and cold-smoking of trout, freezing, as well as for production of trout caviar and processing of other farmed fish and seafood. Vertical integration of the group continued with the opening of a fish feed plant in 2017.

The government of the Republic of Karelia has implemented several state support measures aimed at the development of the fisheries and aquaculture industry in the Republic. In 2018, the regional government supported enterprises in the industry with grants for reimbursement of 30% of the cost of purchasing fish processing equipment, creating, reconstructing and upgrading fish breeding activities and specialized lines for production of fish feed, as well as for reimbursement of part of the interest rates on loan agreements for purchase of fish feed and fish stocks. Additional measures in 2019 include the reimbursement of 50% of the cost for preparation of documentation regarding construction of complexes for recirculation aquaculture systems, and the reimbursement of part of the interest rate on loans for the purchase of domestically produced fish feeds.

Ambitious plans to increase output in Karelia

The plan of activities for the development of the aquaculture sector in Karelia in 2017-2020 and subsequent years foresees an increase of production to 35 000 tonnes by 2025. Currently, Karelian aquaculture products are distributed on the national market though wholesale and distribution channels. Intensification of the aquaculture production and development of the fish processing industry will further fill the domestic market and allow regional producers to expand internationally. 

Ekaterina Tribilustova, EUROFISH, ekaterinaThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.