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5 hot trends in the Russian fish processing technology industry

Russia has some big goals when it comes to domestic fish production. A self-sufficiency target of 85%, alongside a $1.6 billion state investment budget to develop industrial fisheries by 2020, is paving the way for some great opportunities for processing technology producers.
So how can international firms capitalise on this investment drive? ITE Food & Drink has identified 5 big trends affecting the market and what they mean for fish and seafood processing companies.

1. Aquaculture on the rise globally but Russia held back

Global research firm Technavio has predicted that, by 2020, 62% of the world's total supply of seafood will be farmed via aquaculture. This sector is growing fast; fuelled by a decline in traditional practices and fishing methods. Aquaculture currently accounts for 20% of Europe’s fish production, with Spain, the UK, France and Greece contributing 70% of the region’s total aquaculture volumes. 
A lack of available feed is hampering Russian expansion in the aquaculture sector. According to World-Grain.com, current production levels of fish feed is around 100,000 tonnes. Demand stands at 250,000. 40 feed production facilities exist in the country. Only a handful have been renovated with modern technology meaning there are big opportunities in Russia for advanced fish feed production equipment.

2. Chilean salmon being replaced with domestic supply

With supply levels stuttering and prices on the rise, Russia’s consumers are moving away from Chilean salmon imports as their tastes turn toward domestically sourced products. Ilya Bereznuk, spokesperson for Russian Agriculture, told IntraFish that a recent algal bloom has damaged Chilean salmon stocks, sending prices as high as $8 per kilogram. 
To counter rising prices, it is expected that Russian retailers will increase their orders of domestic salmon in 2016. Wild fishing levels are on the decline, which means aquaculture will be needed to pick up the slack. Specialised seafood processing technologies will be needed in Russia to push aquaculture levels higher and meet demand.

3. Russia looks for foreign investment in fishing machinery

Belgium’s recent Seafood Expo Global, held during April 2016 in Brussels, saw a delegation of Russian firms come together to secure significant foreign investment in the seafood industry. Petr Savchuk, head of Russian fishing agency Rosrybolovsto, stated the group’s aim was to ink deals that would aid Russia’s internal production levels, infrastructure efficiency and product quality. 
Planned changes to Russian fisheries law are creating a wide range of opportunities for foreign companies in Russia’s seafood industry, according to Mr Savchuk. Refrigeration, logistics and port facilities are areas most affected by these legislative changes. As such, international suppliers will see their opportunities expand in the near future. 

4. Significant growth of fish farming & processing in St. Petersburg

While the vast majority of Russian seafood harvesting and production takes place in the Far East, the industry is growing in the West. St. Petersburg, and the surrounding Leningrad region, in particular is enjoying a food production revolution. 
The number of fish processing and farming production companies has increased. Around 30-40 firms operate in the area. To meet self-sufficiency targets, plans to invest in 100 sets of aquaculture equipment, to be rented out to local Leningrad firms, are underway – and offer big opportunities for manufacturers of top quality farming and processing solutions. 

5. International processing facilities being replaced by domestic sites

Advances in available technology and the quality of seafood being produced is leading Russia to move away from relying on overseas production facilities, according to Petr Savchuk. Chinese sites, which handle the vast majority of Russia’s pollock catch, are noticing a growing trend in Russia favouring to produce its own fish stocks domestically.
15 new salmon farms are planned for construction, alongside sardine and mackerel sites, which will boost Russian seafood production levels. By 2018, Russia is set to produce 5 million tons of seafood annually.
As production and farming sites move back into Russian waters, a greater demand for seafood processing facilities is expected. Foreign firms can expect the opportunities for supply and investment in processing technologies to ramp up in the coming years.
If your business can help meet Russian demand for the latest fish and seafood equipment and technologies, then why not visit FishTech at WorldFood Moscow in September 2016? Russian food buyers need your solutions to help step up their production levels to match self-sufficiency targets. Learn more about WorldFood Moscow today. 


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Tony Higginson

International Sales Director


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