A total of 14.4 million kilos of fish was grown for human consumption in Finland last year. The amount was 0.5 million kilos less than in 2015. However, according to the Natural Resources Institute Finland’s latest aquaculture statistics, the value of food fish farming was comfortably up on the previous year due to higher producer prices.
The most important species of fish grown for human consumption is rainbow trout, although farming volumes have dropped since the peak years of the 1990s. A total of 13.4 million kilos of rainbow trout was produced, which was just over 90 per cent of the total food fish production volume. Farmed whitefish amounted to 0.8 million kilos, almost the same as in 2015. Other farmed food fish species, such as brown trout, Arctic char, sturgeon, pikeperch and eel, amounted to a total of approximately 0.2 million kilos. A total of 0.5 million kilos of rainbow trout roe was produced for human consumption.
Producer prices for rainbow trout increased
Producers earned EUR 59.4 million from rainbow trout farming and EUR 7 million from whitefish farming. The total value of food fish production amounted to approximately EUR 69.1 million, which was about EUR 13 million more than in 2015.
– Although there was no significant change in the volume of fish farming, the increase in value on the previously year is mostly due to the higher prices paid to producers for rainbow trout. Both the nominal and the real price of gutted rainbow trout was higher in 2016 (EUR 4.88/kg) than at any other time during the 21st century. Whitefish also fetched a good price (EUR 10.11/kg)”, explains Researcher Riitta Savolainen from the Natural Resources Institute Finland.
The price of rainbow trout follows the global price of salmon, which was high due to fish farming problems in Chile, for example.
Most food fish grown off-shore
A total of 83 per cent of all fish grown for human consumption in Finland was produced by off-shore farms. The Åland Islands produced 6.7 million kilos of food fish, fish farms along the coast and on the islands of Southwest Finland produced 4.1 million kilos and fish farms in other sea areas produced just over one million kilos. Inland fish farms produced 2.4 million kilos of food fish.
Finnish fish farm supply unable to meet demand
Most of the food fish grown in Finland is also consumed in Finland. Salmonids in particular also need to be imported, as domestic supply is unable to meet demand. Finland imported a total of approximately 40 million kilos of fresh and filleted salmon mostly from Norway and rainbow trout from Sweden. The volume of salmonid imports has approximately doubled in the last 10 years.
Fish fry grown inland
Besides food fish, fish is also grown for stocking natural waters. Fish fry were mostly grown in Lapland, Northern Ostrobothnia, Kainuu and Central Finland. A total of approximately 50 million fish fry of different sizes, excluding newly-hatched fry, were grown for stocking and further farming.
There were 300 fish farming enterprises in Finland in 2016, which had several active fish farms. Food fish was grown by 158 farms and fish fry by 91 farms. A total of 189 farmers operated natural food ponds.