Contract farming refers to the rearing of juveniles of valuable fish species, carried out by private fish farming enterprises under Luke’s management. Contract farming is used to produce juveniles of the most vulnerable salmon and trout populations for stocking and for the safeguarding of their preservation.

Contract farming began in the 1970s – in a bid to strengthen salmon populations in the Baltic Sea, the Gulf of Finland and the Gulf of Bothnia – in order to increase the catch of commercial fishermen in particular. Later, the endangered species of landlocked salmon, Saimaa Arctic char, sea trout and brown trout were added to stocked species. Stocking has mainly been carried out with the purpose of recovering and strengthening the populations of these species. However, the species have also been fished; in this sense, stockings have improved catch opportunities for recreational anglers and commercial fishermen. Endangered species have played a more prominent role in stocking during the 2000s.

Fry for stocking are procured through competitive tendering

On an annual basis, Luke arranges for the procurement of juvenile through competitive tendering, purchasing the juveniles to be reared by enterprises, stocking them, marking them and handling any other research.  All juveniles are reared from eggs supplied by Luke, in order to ensure the genetic background of fish species and populations. Salmon, landlocked salmon, sea trout and brown trout are currently reared under contract breeding.

Every spring, Luke stocks around 400,000 juveniles reared under contract breeding

The annual numbers of stocked fish vary, depending on the success rate in rearing. Every spring, Luke uses funds allocated for contract rearing to stock around 400,000 salmon, sea trout, brown trout and landlocked salmon juveniles of one or two years of age. The value of juveniles on an annual level amounts to half a million euros. Salmon and sea trout are stocked in river mouths and in rivers on the coasts of the Gulf of Finland, the Sea of Bothnia and the Archipelago Sea. Efforts are being made to reintroduce salmon and sea trout to rivers still unharnessed for hydroelecticity production and flowing into the Sea of Botnia. Landlocked salmon and brown trout are stocked in inland waters.

The farming of fish for contract stocking is monitored and managed by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.
Photo at the top of the page: Juha-Pekka Turkka