Fishery is one of the traditional economic sectors of the Murmansk Region and plays an important part in the socioeconomic specialisation of the region. Murmansk Region fishermen account for 16% of the overall Russian catch. About 90% of fish is processed immediately at sea.

The sector is based upon the fisheries fleet and the onshore complex that includes port facilities, onshore fish-processing enterprises and shipyard companies. 148 organisations employing about 7.8 thousand people are active in fishing, fish farming, processing and tinning fish products and seafood in the Murmansk Region. 105 organisations are active in industrial and coastal fishing.

About 700 thousand tonnes of aquatic bioresources are harvested each year. The annual amount of fish production is 500 thousand tonnes, 60% of the production going to the Russian domestic market.

At the end of 2013, the Murmansk Region took the first place of all Russian federal entities in the amount of shipped fish production – over RUB 31 bn.

The Strategy of Murmansk Region Socioeconomic Development until 2025 prioritises a comprehensive upgrade of fisheries and aquaculture sector development.

Industrial fishing, fishery fleet
Coastal fishing and industrial fishing in inland waters
Port infrastructure
Onshore fish processing
Leading enterprises and sector associations

Industrial fishing, fishery fleet

The Murmansk Region is the leading region in the European Russia in aquatic bioresources harvesting: over 55% of the total catch. Fishery accounts for almost 7% of the gross regional product.

Industrial fishing mostly takes place in 200-mile zones of foreign countries under international fisheries treaties and agreements. Those are the Norwegian economic zone and the zones of Greenland, Faroese islands, Mauritania, Marocco and Senegal, the Svalbard area and the Convention areas of the NEAFC (North-East Atlantic) and the NAFO (North-West Atlantic). The Russian fishery area accounts for just 18% of the catch, foreign areas making up 72% of the catch and World Ocean outside 200-mile zones making up about 10 of the overall catch by Arctic Basin enterprises.

The fishery fleet of Murmansk region enterprises includes 207 vessels, including: 11 extra large vessels, 11 large vessels, 117 medium-size vessels and 68 small vessels, their average age being 25 years. The ship owners are therefore making considerable investments into upgrading the fishery fleet and building new state-of-the-art trawlers and longline vessels.

Coastal fishing and industrial fishing in inland waters

Over 50 fisheries and individual entrepreneurs are active in coastal fishing in the Murmansk Region. The fleet varies at about 100 vessels of different types.

The overall coastal catch is about 22 thousand tonnes of aquatic bioresources including over 12 thousand tonnes of cod and about 8 thousand tonnes of haddock. The catch is delivered to the Murmansk coast for further selling or industrial processing. Catches of the coastal fisheries provide unprocessed fish to coastal fish processing factories, creating new jobs.

Starting from 2004, there has been industrial harvesting of red king crabs. Before that, industrial enterprises only took part in its research catching under scientific programmes by research organisations of the sector. Currently, the annual catch of crabs is about 4 thousand tonnes, the crab harvesting fleet comprising 20 vessels. The harvesting takes place during the seasonal time limits set on the Fishing Rules.

Fresh water industrial fishing is over 30 tonnes of fish a year. There are special quotas allocated to indigenous peoples of the north who catch up to 375 tonnes of cod and haddock. The list of harvested resources includes cisco, vendace, pike, burbot, perch, roach and White Sea herring.

Port infrastructure

The main site of the port infrastructure is the Murmansk port – the biggest in the north of the Russian Federation. The port provides vessel servicing, fuel loading and petroleum storage. Moorings, loading and unloading facilities, production storage and selling facilities are located there. The port consists of three cargo areas occupying over 400 hectares of territory, the total quayage length being 4 km, the railway tracks length being 30 km and crane tracks 3 km. The non-freezing can provide its services all year long. Last year, the port received 220 thousand tonnes of fish products which made up about 80% of the total cargo turnover and serviced over 1070 vessel and about 400 rail cars with fish products. The port can potentially service up to 3 mln tonnes of cargo per year.

Onshore fish processing

About 40 onshore fish processing factories making over 200 production units are active in the region. Frozen fillet and fish make up most of the produced assortment. Besides, salted, smoked, stock, dried, cooked, tinned and preserved fish is produced.

Most fish processing factories are certified for fish exports. According to the EU Mission, the Murmansk Region is the best in complying with the EU requirements to fish deliveries.

The Russian Federation and Murmansk Region Government provides for support measures for enterprises of the sector, making it possible to allocate operating assets for building and upgrading fish-processing infrastructure and factories and storage facilities, buying supplementary materials, equipment and raw materials for fish processing.


The Kola Peninsula has the biggest aquaculture success potential in the north-western Russia. The coastline is over 2 thousand km long which offers a wide choice of wind-protected bays and inlets. The available waters for fish farming include over 900 thousand hectares on fresh-water lakes and 180 thousand hectares of artificial reservoirs.

The recent years have seen a rapid growth in the regional mariculture and aquaculture. Over the last 5 years the amount of commercial fish breeding has increased by 30 times, the sales of end products of aquaculture having risen by 16 times.

5 organisations operate in commercial fish farming, the annual breeding amounts to rise to 25–30 thousand tonnes in the medium term.

Currently, the following aquaculture projects are the biggest: the OAO Baltiysky Bereg investment project with its regional branch ZAO Russky Losos in Atlantic salmon farming in the Pechenga and Ambarnaya Bays of the Barents and White Seas as well as a project to build a fish farming complex consisting of several fish farms in bays of the Barents and White Seas by the Russkoye More Group.

Aquaculture enterprises introduce advanced technologies, equip state-of-the-art farms, introduce systems of biological protection from birds and seals, install feeding facilities and buy special live-fish carriers.

Trout farming in the region is no less promising area of aquaculture. 3 companies breed trout; one company breeds juvenile trout, providing them to the Murmansk trout breeders and delivering the juveniles to the neighbouring Karelia. A new breed of trout with a good genetic potential was bred in the Murmansk Region: a hybrid of fresh-water and seawater forms.

The first shipment of caviar from sturgeons grown in the transpolar area at the OOO BLK-Fish farm was one of the key events in 2012.

By using the existing means of government support, fish farms upgrade their production, purchase of juveniles, foodstuff, technical devices and equipment.

Leading enterprises and sector associations

Fisheries and fish-processing companies, shipyards are voluntary members of tens of public associations of the Murmansk Region fish industry sector. Some or the associations are members of the All-Russia Association of Fish Producers and Exporters (VARPE).

The non-profit Union of Northern Fisheries is one of the leading fisheries associations in the Arctic Basin and the largest association of small and medium enterprises in the Russian fishery sector. The Union includes more than 50 companies with over 5000 employees, 89 vessels in the fleet supplying about 200 thousand tonnes of alimentary fish products to the domestic market, 2.3 million of standard food tins and over 2 thousand tonnes of fish flour.

The Murmansk Regional Union of Collective Fisheries unites approximately 20 enterprise of the fishery complex, some of them being agricultural production cooperatives and core enterprises creating jobs for residents of small settlements of the Murmansk Region. Around 1000 people are employed by the union’s enterprises.

The non-profit partnership North-West Fisheries Consortium unites 8 companies harvesting and processing fish and crabs and selling the products on the domestic and external markets. The partnership members’ fleet includes 14 vessels, 11 being crab-harvesting vessels. The enterprises employ over 800 people.

The Association of Coastal Fisheries and Fish Farms includes 51 enterprises and individual entrepreneurs, among them: fish-harvesting and fish-processing enterprises, coastal infrastructure enterprises and educational institutions. The share of the association members is 52% of the overall catch under the regional coastal quotas. The number of employees of the association’s enterprises is about 800 people. The coastal fishing enterprises annually supply live and refrigerated fish in a “from the ship to the shop” scheme.

The non-profit partnership Union of Shipyards unites organisations specialising in ship repairs and maintenance for the fisheries fleet vessels.

The Murmansk Trawl Fleet is one of the leading fishery enterprises of the Arctic Basin. The main fishing areas are the Russian economic zone, open areas of the World Ocean as well as 200-mile zones of foreign countries off the coasts North-Eastern, North-Western and Central Eastern Atlantic. The enterprise catches and produces the biggest share of fish products in the region.

Performance of the Murmansk Region Fishery Complex






2011 2012 2013

Catch of the aquatic biological resources, thousand tonnes   





619,6 571,1 700,3

Tinned fish and fish products, thousand tonnes





495,5 459 563,9

Frozen fish, thousand tonnes





394 350,2 458,7

Frozen fish fillet, thousand tonnes 





28,7 36,7 38,2

Herring, all types of processing, thousand tonnes   





46,2 37,6 33,2


Source: Murmanskstat