The future of fish farming was discussed at Põlula  13.10

At the scientific conference that took place this week at the Põlula Fish Farm, the future of Estonia’s restorative fish farming was discussed, and it was concluded that if until now Põlula has mainly populated Estonia’s rivers with salmon, in the future restorative fish farming should be extended to include other species as well.With the conference, RMK’s Põlula Fish Farm celebrated its 20th year of operation.
According to Minister of the Environment Keit Pentus-Rosimannus, the biodiversity of Estonia’s rivers demands that we should give preference to the restoration of the spawning and living habitats of fish and the opening of migration paths in dammed up rivers. “At the same time, restorative fish farming is a necessary measure in some cases, in order to compensate for the human influence on certain species,” she said.

The first half of the conference was dedicated to remembering the establishment and construction of the Põlula Fish Farm and to acknowledging the work done over the last 20 years. Several speakers emphasised the fruitful co-operation of the fish farm with scientific and educational establishments and other interested parties. Assessing the work done so far, Martin Kesler, head of the working team for salmon and trout at the Estonian Marine Institute, University of Tartu, said that as a result of the populating, the number of young salmon has increased in most rivers where salmon live and the number will continue to increase in the future as living conditions improve. “If this tendency continues, the populating volumes for the rivers of the Gulf of Finland may be decreased, while the populating volumes for the Pärnu River may be increased,” Kesler added.

In the second half of the day, the renewing of Estonia’s restorative fish farming was discussed. The main tone of the presentations by the scientists was that fish farming should be seen in a wider context together with the possibility of restoring the spawning and living habitats and the opening of migration paths. When speaking of the new fisheries programme, it was seen as important to continue the restorative fish farming of salmon, whitefish, perch pike, pike, asp, sturgeon and crawfish. “To get the desired results with populating, the principles of preserving genetic diversity should definitely be adhered to,” stressed Riho Gross, professor at the Estonian University of Life Sciences, Institute of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Sciences, who also gave a presentation on that topic. All of the conference presentations are available here.

According to Kaire Märtin, Head of the Department of Fisheries at the Ministry of the Environment, the draft programme is planned to be prepared by the end of the year and discussions regarding it are continuing.

The Põlula Fish Farm has been a part of RMK since the beginning of this year. RMK is the keeper, protector and manager of the forest and other natural biotic communities belonging to the Republic of Estonia. RMK earns a profit for the state through forest management, growing reforestation material, and organising forest and nature protection works. In addition, RMK establishes opportunities for nature walking and shapes nature awareness. In addition to Põlula Fish Farm, RMK consists of the Sagadi Forest Centre, the Elistvere Animal Park, the Tartu Tree Nursery and 70% of the Estonian-Finnish joint company AS Eesti Metsataim. More than 700 people work for RMK.