The total value of food fish cultivated in Finland increased for the second consecutive year. However, the quantity of food fish has remained relatively stable for the last three years. This is shown by the aquaculture statistics of the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke).
The price of rainbow trout was higher than in the previous years, and this increased the total value of cultivated fish produced by just over ten million euros from 2016.
“There was a clear price increase already in 2016, and the trend continued in 2017. “In 2017, the total value of fish produced for human consumption was approximately EUR 80 million,” says researcher Leena Forsman at Luke.
There was only a slight increase in the volume of production from the previous year. The price of rainbow trout usually follows the world market price of salmon which for the last couple of years has been clearly higher than in previous years.
No major change in the production volumes of food fish from the previous year
In Finland, mainly rainbow trout is cultivated for human consumption, together with small amounts of European whitefish and other species.
“Last year, some 14.6 million kilograms of fish were cultivated in Finland for human consumption. More than 90 per cent of this quantity was made up by rainbow trout. “Approximately 13.6 million kilograms of rainbow trout was produced, together with less than one million kilograms of European whitefish,” Forsman continues.
The production volumes of both species were close to the previous year’s level. In addition, minor quantities other species of fish were cultivated in Finland for human consumption, among others trout, arctic char, sturgeon and pike-perch. In total, approximately 0.2 million kilograms of these species were produced. About half a million kilograms of rainbow trout roe was produced.
Food fish is mainly cultivated in the sea
Most of the food fish is cultivated in the sea, in net pools. Only 15 per cent of the food fish is produced inland.
The nutrient loading caused by fish cultivation has significantly decreased, to less than one-third of the loading in early 1990s. The improvements in fish feed and cultivation technology have reduced the nutrition loading caused by fish cultivation.
Most of the fish farms producing fish fry are located inland. Kainuu has the largest number of fry farms. Central Finland, Savo and Kainuu have the largest numbers of fish farmers using natural food ponds. Rainbow trout fry was produced in the largest quantities, followed by European whitefish fry and pike-perch fry. A total of approximately 50 million specimens of fry were produced in 2017.
Fish produced using water recirculation technology
The popularity of recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) is increasing around the world, as the water recirculation technique saves water and reduces nutrition loading. In 2017, just under half a million kilograms of food fish was produced in Finnish RAS farms.
The information was collected by queries sent to each plant of the companies engaged in fish cultivation. 97 per cent of the queries were answered. Among other things, the companies were asked to indicate the quantities of fish sold for food, as well as the quantities of fish fry delivered for stocking and further farming. In the aquaculture statistics, the production volumes of food fish are shown as ungutted fish and the fry as numbers of specimens.