In 2019, fish farmers produced approximately 15.3 million kilograms of food fish for sale, which was approximately one million kilograms more than in the previous year. The volume was increased by the share of rainbow trout (some 14.2 million kilograms) which was also around one million kilograms higher than in 2018. In addition to rainbow trout, fish farms produced for food approximately 0.8 million kilograms of whitefish and approximately 0.3 million kilograms of other fish species. This is shown by the aquaculture statistics of the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke).
Most of the food fish is produced at sea in net cages; 18% of the food fish was produced in Continental Finland. Approximately half of the food fish produced in Finland came from Åland: Åland accounted for nearly 60% of the total food fish production in sea areas.
Production volumes increased both at sea and inland. The increase amounted to approximately 5% at sea and 15% inland when compared to the previous year. Of the sea areas, the growth of food fish production was the largest in Åland.
World market prices decreased the value of Finnish food fish production
In 2019, the total value of fish produced for sale was approximately EUR 70 million. Even though more farmed fish was produced for sale than in the previous year, the production value remained three million euros lower. This is because the producer price of rainbow trout decreased from the previous year. The price of rainbow trout was influenced by the world market price of salmon, which decreased from the extremely high level of a couple of years ago.
More fish from recirculating fish farms
Fish farming is a highly regulated industry: the environmental permits granted to fish farms practically determine the allowed volume of fish produced. The increase in production volume last year was partially due to the increased production volume of recirculating fish farms.
In Finland, parties active in the industry have hoped to make rainbow trout a competitor to Norwegian salmon. Recirculating fish farms are considered a good means of increasing Finnish food fish production, because the environmental impact of a recirculating fish farm is lower than that of a traditional fish farm. Last year, fish farms that use recirculated water produced approximately one million kilograms of food fish, mainly rainbow trout. Around more than then farms use recirculated water at least to some extent in Finland.
Fry for natural waters and further cultivation
In addition to food fish, fry are raised in Finland to be planted into natural bodies of water or to be further cultivated at fish farms. Most of the fry raised to be planted are whitefish (some 17 million fry last year) and the second most common species is pike-perch (some six million fry last year). A little less than two million salmon fry and around the same number of brown trout fry were produced for planting. Some 50 million specimens of fry – excluding newly hatched individuals – were produced for the purposes of stocking and further farming.
Background to the statistics
The aquaculture statistics are published annually by the end of June of the year following the statistical year. The fish volumes presented in the statistics refer to uncleaned fish. The volumes are based on information provided by fish farmers. A total of 99% of the farmers to whom the survey was submitted replied it.