Categories
Food Industry News

Salmon difficult destiny

Fish cough, salmon louse, poisonous algae and rotten re-wagons. Red fish, originally one of the main hopes of the import substitution program, has doubled in price over the past two years, and now, due to new misfortunes, it may become noticeably less on the shelves, the DENGI magazine writes.

PJSC Russian Aquaculture had ambitious plans: to supply at least 2019 thousand tons of chilled red fish to the Russian market by 2020-21, as well as to build two factories - for growing Atlantic salmon fry and for the production of feed - worth 13 billion rubles. Now the company is not ready to talk about plans. “Russian Aquaculture” (formerly “Russian Sea”), owned by Gennady Timchenko's son-in-law Gleb Frank (37,13%) and brother of the Governor of the Moscow Region Maxim Vorobyov (31,5%), started a salmon breeding project in 2007. At first, the company raised trout in small volumes, and in 2011, having won a competition from the Federal Agency for Fishery for the right to use nine fishing grounds, it began to breed Atlantic salmon on farms in the Murmansk region.

Russian Aquaculture has invested 2,8 billion rubles in salmon farming. - the money was taken on credit from the Rosselkhozbank. The company received its first “harvest” of salmon in 2014, a landmark year for the industry, when Russia introduced anti-sanctions against European countries, which blocked the way to our market for the traditional leader in the red fish segment, Norwegian salmon. In 2014, the company raised 4,5 thousand tons of salmon, as well as 600 tons of trout.

However, it was not possible to build a successful import substitution project. In the same 2014, the company incurred the first losses from the death of fish - 245,7 million rubles. The reason, according to "Russian Aquaculture", was bad weather conditions. In July last year, a primary processing shop in the Murmansk region burned down: the company estimated the damage from the fire at 111,02 million rubles. Then the farmed fish were attacked by salmon lice, and then they got massively ill with myxobacteriosis (or, as it is also called, fish cough). A source close to the company says that the reason for the trouble was the desire to quickly get a significant amount: the fry were too densely planted in cages. The company itself refutes this version. Be that as it may, last year "Russian Aquaculture" lost 4,3 thousand tons of fish - the loss from its death amounted to almost a billion rubles. The company ended the year with a loss of 1,8 billion rubles.

The financial problems of Russian Aquaculture led to the violation of the terms of the agreement with Gazprombank on the ratio of debt to EBITDA. The bank opened two credit lines for the company - with limits of RUB 8 billion and RUB 2,5 billion; at the end of 2015, debts on them amounted to RUB 4,8 billion and RUB 2,4 billion. respectively. Gazprombank may demand early repayment of loans (whether such a requirement has been put forward, neither the bank nor the company will report). The parties are now negotiating.

Even if the bank does not want to bankrupt the company, the further development of Russian Aquaculture does not seem as triumphant as it was announced earlier. The company sells its distribution subsidiary (CJSC Russian Fish Company) - in March the FAS approved the deal, for 3,91 billion rubles. it will be acquired by RRK Holding LLC (51% belongs to the Vietnamese Hung Vyong Rus, 49% - to the ex-general director of the Russian Fish Company Dmitry Kotsyubinsky). However, "Russian Aquaculture" claims that the sale was caused by the decision to focus specifically on fish farming. But Russian Fish Company is the main asset of Russian Aquaculture: its share in the total turnover at the end of 2015 was more than 90%. There will not be enough money from the sale to fully repay the debt to Gazprombank. True, the company is optimistic that today it has “more than 3 thousand tons of biomass in its cages, and this volume may grow several times over the summer,” as the fish quickly gains weight as the water temperature rises. But how much salmon is planned to be obtained this year, "Russian Aquaculture" does not report.

The second project for the cultivation of Atlantic salmon in Russia has already been phased out. In April, the Arbitration Court of the Murmansk Region declared the company “Russian Salos” bankrupt, and a monitoring procedure was introduced with respect to the parent structure, the Baltic Coast Group. The companies themselves filed applications to the courts.

Russian Salmon, like its competitors, faced massive fish deaths last year. The cause was also disease - myxobacteriosis and infectious anemia of salmonids. At the end of 2014, Russian Salon raised 5,2 million fish, the book value of which was 1,9 billion rubles. How many of them died, the company did not report. The position of “Russian Salon” was sharply shaken also due to loans in foreign currency, which the company attracted for development. According to SPARK, Russian Salmon ended 2015 with a loss of RUB 1,77 billion.

By the beginning of 2016, there were no fish left on the farms of “Russian Salon”: the company killed the remaining sick individuals and is no longer engaged in breeding activities. At the same time, "Baltic Coast" declares that it expects to restart the project, but when and on what conditions, it is silent.

The Russian Aquaculture and Russian Salmon projects were the only attempts to raise Atlantic salmon in Russia. They cannot be called XNUMX% import substitution: both companies had to buy fry from Norway (there are no salmon stocking plants in Russia). According to Timur Mitupov, head of the Analytical Center of the Information Agency for Fisheries, projects, in addition to being dependent on the high exchange rate of the euro, ruin the need to make long investments (salmon has to be raised to marketable for at least two years) and the lack of professional ichthyologists. Russia has no experience in salmon farming, unlike Norway, which has been establishing this fishery for decades. Climatic conditions also vary: in the Norwegian fjords there are warm currents and there are no storms, while in the Barents Sea, the only suitable water area for salmon farming in Russia, conditions are more severe.

IMPORT POSITIONED VOLUNTARY

In March, Chile, the world's second-largest salmon catch after Norway, killed 25 million salmon as poisonous algae bloomed off the coast. As a result of this ecological disaster, salmon production in Chile will decrease by 20-25% this year. The death of such a massive population has caused a worldwide rise in salmon prices. And this means that there will be even less import of it to Russia.

The drop in demand, as a result of the rise in fish prices, has already greatly reduced the import of salmon to our country. In the pre-crisis 2013, according to the non-profit organization "Fish Union", almost 190 thousand tons of salmon were imported to Russia, by the end of 2015 - more than half as much, just over 87 thousand tons. The main supplier of up to sanctions were Norway, but then Chile came to replace it - last year Chilean supplies amounted to more than 90%.

According to Vitaly Kornev, President of the Association of Production and Trade Enterprises of the Fish Market, since March, when fish began to die in Chile, prices of Chilean salmon producers have increased from $ 5,00 to $ 7,3-7,4 per kg (Russian suppliers have increased ranged from 440 to 560-580 rubles). Salmon from the Faroe Islands has also risen in price, which is also supplied to Russia: from $ 7 to $ 9-9,3 per kg (from Russian suppliers - from 640 to 800 rubles). As the press service of X5 Retail Group (Pyaterochka, Perekrestok, Karusel chains) told Dengam, since March there has been “a decrease in demand for salmon due to their high price,” now it has stabilized. What will happen next with the prices for imported salmon and, accordingly, with the demand for red fish, so far no one undertakes to predict: world fish prices depend on a combination of many factors.

The last remaining segment is Russian red fish caught in the Far East. Basically, pink salmon is mined there. There are two good news here: the production is not falling, and the fish remains two to three times cheaper than imported ones. In 2013, the salmon catch amounted to 390 thousand tons, in 2014 - 337 thousand tons, and in 2015 - 375 thousand tons, and 90% of the Pacific salmon harvested goes to the domestic Russian market. But the good news ends there. First, experts are calling for healthy pessimism. “Stocks of Far Eastern salmon have been at a very good level for the past eight years. It will not be possible to stay at this peak for a long time, because the natural conditions will change and the catch will begin to decline. Maybe good production will be observed for another two or three years, or maybe this year a decline will begin, ”predicts Alexander Fomin, president of the All-Russian Association of Fisheries Enterprises, Entrepreneurs and Exporters.

And secondly, another problem may block the way for Russian red fish to reach the Russian consumer. Far Eastern salmon are delivered to the European part of Russia by rail. It travels exclusively frozen and is transported in special refrigerated wagons. Their fleet has not been renewed since the beginning of the 1980s: the carriages are out of order and become in short supply, and soon there will be none at all. “In three or four years, the entire fleet of refrigerated wagons will be cut into nails - they will no longer be able to operate,” says Georgy Martynov, president of the Association of Fisheries Enterprises of Primorye. “The cost of one refrigerator car is $ 1,3-1,4 million - it will never pay off ”.

The Northern Sea Route, which could become an alternative to rail transport, has not yet been fully developed: last year, only about 5 thousand tons of fish were sent along it.

EXTREME MEASURES

Last year, fish consumption in Russia fell sharply: if in 2014 it was 22,3 kg per person, then in 2015 it dropped to 14 kg. According to the Ministry of Health, this figure is 6 kg less than the minimum recommended for a healthy diet.

Do you remember the advertising posters “Fish is waiting!” That the then head of the Federal Agency for Fishery Andrey Krainy hung in Moscow in 2010? It seemed to the head of the department that, if only to remind the Russians of the status of a great maritime power, to open an Ocean store at every corner, and consumption would grow. Most of the shops that opened at the request of the minister went bankrupt pretty quickly - it turned out that the main problem was connected not with consumption, but with the goods. The new head of the Federal Agency for Fishery, Ilya Shestakov, hastened to disown the plans of his predecessor shortly after being appointed to the post in 2014.

However, in the absence of high-quality cheap fish in stores, a certain imbalance in the tastes of Russians was also revealed. A February poll by VTsIOM showed that 88% of Russians love fish, but eat primarily herring (84%) and mackerel (77%). Pink salmon is consumed only by 52%, and trout and other salmon and even less - about 40%. The answer to the question "why?" it seems obvious: half of the respondents indicated that fish is either too expensive or it is difficult to find quality products.

Herring, of course, is our everything, but from the point of view of health benefits, it is red fish that is valuable. It is the richest source of omega-3 acids, which improve cardiovascular function, normalize blood pressure and improve skin condition, and prevent the development of Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases. American scientists believe that the use of omega-3 acids can prolong life. Scientists from Harvard School and the University of Washington estimate that a person who regularly receives them with food adds two years to his life on average. For example, the Japanese, the longest-living nation in the world, whose food system is based on fish, is a clear illustration.

Other rich sources of omega-3 acids, such as chia seed oil, flax seed oil or hemp oil, are either too exotic for Russians or are not traditional products - they have not become a habit.

However, even those Russians who eat red fish buy it frozen now, and this is far from so useful. Chilled salmon cannot be found in Russia - earlier this segment was represented by Norwegian fish, but today the share of imports of chilled fish is close to zero: according to the All-Russian Association of Fisheries Enterprises, Entrepreneurs and Exporters, last year we received only 10 tons of chilled red fish from Armenia. True, Russia has its own trout farms, but their market share is not very large, so when you see the word “chilled” on the price tag, do not rush to rejoice - they just learned to defrost red fish beautifully.

See also ... 24/09/2015 "Russian aquaculture" may fall out of plan 24/10/2014 Sakhalin is able to replace imports from Norway 19/02/2015 The US Department of Agriculture expects an increase in prices for caviar in Russia 08/08/2014 X12 expects an increase in the price of chilled red fish 11/2014/27 catch of Baltic salmon 08/2014/27 FCS: the Russian Federation has not yet been able to compensate for imports 08/2014/5 Medvedev: empty shelves in stores - myth 03/09/2015 Salmon catch in the Far East increased significantly in 23 08/2013/12 11/2014/22 Salmon fishing was started by one of the largest enterprises in Chukotka

Add a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to combat spam. Find out how your comment data is processed.