Russia needs feed as Western sanctions tighten supply. Here’s how it plans to solve it

Fish farmers in Russia are seeing a shortage of feed because of the Western sanctions, prompting the country to look into its own backyard for sources of feed ingredients so it could become self-sufficient.

Annual farmed fish production has grown 1.8 times since 2016 and amounts to 253,000 tonnes per year, with farmed salmon accounting for 30 percent, data from the Russian Federal Agency for Fishery shows.

Russia’s goal is to increase farmed salmon production to at least 700,000 tonnes per year, according to the document: “The Strategy for the Development of the Fishing Industry Complex of the Russian Federation by 2030.”

Feed is mainly imported
But the Western sanctions against Russia are taking a toll, as the specialized feeds it needs for aquaculture are mainly (60 percent) purchased abroad.

Its fish farming industry needs approximately 450,000 tonnes of feed per year, but domestic supply does not cover even half of it, reported Russian news outlet Parlamentskaya Gazeta.

In addition, the domestic supply is also used mainly for growing carp and other relatively inexpensive fish varieties.

“Our feeds are not very well balanced, less nutritious, and not suitable for all types of fish,” Alexey Aronov, executive director of the Association of Production and Trade Enterprises of the Fish Market, told the news outlet.

Measures being considered
The Russian government has outlined measures to overcome these challenges.

It plans to acknowledge feed production as a “backbone enterprise,” which would enable feed producers to avail themselves of state support, such preferential loans.

The government is also looking at incentivizing the construction of new feed mills by subsidizing 30 percent of capital costs.

Existing factory capacities in the country that are not suitable for the production of feed for more valuable species – such as salmon and sturgeon – will be supported so they can serve these segments.

The use of by-products from fisheries, which are simply discarded, is also being explored as a potential source of fish meal and fish oil ingredients for local feed production.
State subsidies for transportation and logistics are being considered because enterprises for the production of fishmeal are concentrated in the Far East, while fish farmers are concentrated in central regions.

Disruption will be ‘short term’
Politician Vladimir Blotsky acknowledged that aquaculture production will take a hit in the short term – six months or a year – because the measures will take time to implement.

“But subsequently, production will recover to the same volume. So this will not affect the final indicators (production targets) of the Strategy,” he told the publication.

Another politician, Sergei Mitin, reportedly agreed with the assessment of the situation.

Modern equipment will enable the local production of 100,000 tonnes of feed per year, he said, adding that the launch of several feed mills “will easily cover the needs of domestic fish farming and even increase the pace.”


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