Big bounce for Arctic aquaculture
Murmansk has the quickest-growing aquaculture industry in the Barents Region, and is seeking reduced import-dependence of neighboring Norway.
As northern Norwegian regions have expanded fish farming for decades, Russia has become the biggest market for Norwegian marine products. In 2013, Norway exported seafood worth as much as 6.6 billion NOK (€789.6 million) to Russia.
Meanwhile, northern Russian regions have been trying to develop their own aquaculture industries. Now, results are coming. According to figures assembled by BarentsObserver, Murmansk Oblast in 2012 produced a total of 16,900 tons of salmon, a 320 percent increase from year 2009. Also in the neighboring region of Karelia fish farming is picking pace. There, a total of 17,600 tons of trout were produced in 2012, up from 11,700 tons in 2009.
A further rapid increase in output is in the process. Authorities in Murmansk expect to have a total regional production of 25,000 tons in 2015. There are two companies engaged in fish farming in the region, the Russky Losos and Russkoye More – Akvakultura.
According to Dmitry Dangauzer, General Director of Russkoye More, the company plans to boost its production in Murmansk and Karelia to a total of 70,000 tons by year 2020. “This will be our maximum capacity in the two regions”, he says in an interview with Prime.ru.
Despite the major production increase in Russia, the neighboring Norwegian regions will remain a far leg ahead. Figures from the northern Norwegian aquaculture industries show that the three northernmost Norwegian counties of Nordland, Troms and Finnmark together produced a total of 276,000 tons in 2012. Also there, the production increase is significant. In both Troms and Finnmark, the output growth has over the last ten years been close to 50 percent, while the biggest aquaculture region – Nordland – in the same period had a growth of 36 percent.