The two aquaculture companies Kirkenes Charr and Russian Salmon announced the cooperation plan in the Russian border town of Nikel on Thursday. The project will pioneer joint investments in the border zone between the two countries, an area that got visa freedom for local inhabitants in May this year.
Frode Stålsett is chairman of the board in Kirkenes Charr and has for decades worked with joint Norwegian, Russian business cooperation in the north.
“This project will provide for cross-border investments, new jobs in both municipalities. The cooperation will give Russian Salmon and other regional fish farmers salmon smolt of good quality fit for our climate conditions,” says Frode Stålsett to BarentsObserver.
The idea is simple; produce smolt at a new facility in connection with Kirkenes Charr’s existing onshore fish farm for Arctic charr near Kirkenes. The facility is located few kilometers from the border to Russia. The smolt will be taken to Liinakhamari in Pechenga a few kilometers in to Russian territory where Russian Salmon has their fish farm. Also other fish farms in the Norwegian border areas can get smolt from the new facility.
Kirkenes Charr was awarded as producer of the Best Seafood in Norway in 2009, as earlier reported by BarentsObserver.
General manger Oddbjør Jerijervi at Kirkenes Charr’s fish farm in Ropelv is very satisfied with the agreement with the Russian company across the border.
“This means that we finally can utilize the large potential for fish farming products we have here in Ropelv,” says Oddbjørn Jerijervi.
The agreement will first of all contribute to strengthening the two aquaculture companies on each side of the border, but is also a start signal for other investments where business partners can enter a win-win cooperation in the near-border area.
“The agreement could trigger more Norwegian and Russian investment capital to the border areas between Norway and Russia,” says Frode Stålsett.
Russia is together with France the biggest importer of Norwegian Salmon, according to the latest figures from the Norwegian Seafood Council.