Russia reported its efforts to establish substitutes for aquaculture feed imports have been making progress as the country’s domestic output has increased by almost 40 percent.
According to the Russian Federal Fisheries Agency (Rosrybolovstvo), from January to November 2023, the production of aquaculture feed in Russia increased by 39 percent compared to the same period of 2022, amounting to 48,000 metric tons (MT) of feed.
Rosrybolovstvo attributed the increase in part to a license agreement between the All-Russian Research Institute of Fisheries and Oceanography (VNIRO), a branch of Rosrybolovstvo, and OJSC Melkombinat (Aquarex), a feed company established in the country in 2009. Rosrybolovstvo said Aquarex has produced starter and production feeds for a variety of aquaculture facilities under the guidance of VNRIO scientists and specialists, and in 2023 large-scale testing of aquaculture feed was performed at more than 60 fish farms.
Rosrybolovstvo announced Aquarex plans to establish a new aquaculture feed plant in Russia in the Smolensk region, which it projected will be able to produce more than 100,000 MT of aquafeed per year.
The push by Russia to increase aquaculture feed production comes after the industry was left in a lurch after most international aquaculture feed companies withdrew from the Russian market in response to the country’s invasion of Ukraine, including Denmark-based BioMar, Finland-based Raisio, and Norway-based Skretting.
Aquaculture firms in Russia said they adapted to Western sanctions, using feed from countries like Iran, Turkey, and Belarus as substitutes.
Despite fears of a feed shortage, Rosrybolovstvo said aquaculture production was robust in 2023, estimating that the country’s total aquaculture production will exceed 400,000 MT, ahead of original forecasts. In 2022, the country produced 384,000 MT of aquaculture products, up 8 percent over 2021.
However, a few Russian analysts have criticized the country’s reporting methods. Inna Golfand told a Russian publication that Rosrybolovstvo includes both commercial and non-commercial aquaculture production – such as production for broodstock for recreational campaigns – in its totals, All About Feed reported.
Photo courtesy of press service of Rosrybolovstvo