Ozernaya River sockeye salmon is one of the most highly prized salmon fisheries in the Russian Far East. It is the largest sockeye salmon stock in Asia. The fishery is well managed, especially compared to other Russian salmon fisheries. The escapement, or the returning fish that have successfully passed the fishing grounds without getting caught, are closely monitored, as are the numbers of fish caught. A permanent weir is used by the KamchatNIRO scientists, a regional fisheries management agency, to count salmon throughout the fishing season. One of the companies fishing this salmon stock even passed an eco-certification by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). This was the first fishery to become MSC-certified in Kamchatka.
After recent legislation allowed companies to lease fishing parcels for 20-year periods, the more successful fishing companies on Ozernaya River began investing in new fish-processing facilities. Although many Russian fish-processing plants are quite delipidated, this particular company has put in a lot of money in the past couple of years to produce a state of the art plant to process Ozernaya River sockeye salmon.
Using the latest technology, the company can now produce first-class value-added products such as smoked and salted salmon fillets and slices. Interestingly, if you have ever bought a packaged sliced smoked salmon with paper leaflets between the slices, you might be curious to learn how those paper leaflets are inserted. Quite simply, it’s done by hand (see the two bottom photos). There is currently no machine capable of separating thin salmon slices and inserting waxed paper between them automatically.