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SMÅLÄNNINGEN - October 23rd 2018

SMALLENNINGEN - October 23rd 2018


In the middle of Strömsnäsbruk, a unique project with the farming of Siberian sturgeon has been going on for a few years now. Within a few more years, you may be able to get Russian caviar from Strömsnäsbruk. The project has already been nominated for a prize at a rural gala in Dalarna in a few weeks.

The project in Strömsnäsbruk is new and not well-known even at home. Four pools for farming are in place, and there are a few hundred sturgeons swimming around. However, a whole row in the premises is prepared for farming, and parts of another two rows are used for technical facilities in connection with the farming.

The project is called Arctic Roe of Scandinavia (Aros) and the initiator is Torbjörn Ranta. He has lived in Russia for 20 years, and there he came into contact with both sturgeon meat and sturgeon roe.

- I learned to appreciate the products immensely. It was probably there that the dream of being able to produce this myself was born, he says. At home in Sweden, the ideas took off and in 2015 he began to build up knowledge of the industry.

In the mill premises With the help of a Latvian company, which provided design and planning last year, it was possible to start the project in the former paper mill in Strömsnäs mill, where just the right premises were available. More than one floor of around 1,800 square meters in the old industrial premises has been rebuilt and put into use. Now hundreds of sturgeons swim around in the pools.

Three people work on site with the sturgeon project; partly Ola Brandt and Emad Edin Alajwa, who run the daily operations on site, and partly Grigory Jakovlev from Latvia. He has a lot of experience from fish farming in his home country and is now regularly in Strömsnäsbruk and works with sturgeon farming.

Behind the entire project are 23 different shareholders, and contributions have also been made by the EU from the sea and fisheries program. Large amounts of funds have been invested in the project in, among other things, remodelling of the premises, purchase of equipment and more. Hopefully, within a few years, the project will have progressed to the point where roe production is underway. 

- “Several kilometres of cables have been laid on the premises”, says Ola Brandt, who together with Emad Edin Alajwa - who previously worked as a veterinarian in Syria - manages the daily operations at Arctic Roe of Scandinavia in Strömsnäsbruk.

- “We must continuously take samples of the water, check that it is the right pH value and temperature and that everything works here”, says Ola. An extensive alarm system is also installed, should something happen in the facility, so they can quickly be on-site and correct any problems.

- “We have our own well here in the area. Then we have several different treatment plants that clean the water before it enters the pools, it must be kept at the right bacterial level.

- “When you see how much work is put into purification and other procedures, you begin to understand how fantastic nature itself is, which handles this on its own”, says Ola Brandt.

- “The hope is that when everything is ready, we will be able to produce 1,000 kilos of roe per year. Sturgeon farming is a long-term project and it can take up to six years before a fry has become large enough to be emptied of roe for the first time”, says Torbjörn Ranta. However, Aros has now bought in Siberian sturgeon that weigh around 0.4 kilos each, and which are now a bit bigger. Eventually, even larger fish will be bought in later so that the time to roe production can be shortened.

The fish that now swim in the pools in Strömsnäsbruk have been farmed in Nyköping, which used to be the only place with sturgeon farming in Sweden. The Arctic Roe of Scandinavia project in Strömsnãsbruk has already attracted attention, and for the rural gala that Landsbygdsnätverket will have in Tällberg outside Leksand on November 8, it has been nominated for a fine award. At the gala, prizes are awarded in eight different categories, and in the class for "blue industries" the sturgeon farm in Strömsnäsbruk is one of three up for nomination.

Sven-Inge Idofsson

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