First oyster farm in mainland Ukraine plans to ramp up production

Economy, Ukraine

Skifian Oyster, the first oyster farm in mainland Ukraine, appeared in 2014. The name refers to Scythia, the ancient Greek name for the northern coast of the Black Sea and all the lands north-east of Europe. The enterprise is situated on the coast of the Black Sea.

The farm employs 5 persons, 15 more persons work for the company. Today the farm produces 40 tons of oysters per year and plans to ramp up production to 100 tons per year.

The enterprise was founded by a former owner of an IT company, Andre Pigulevsky.  He decided to establish his new business when he learned the history of oyster farming in Ukraine. It turned out that Ukraine was a world-famous oyster exporter in the 1880’s. Co-owner of the company Serge Stakhov worked in the construction field and participated in infrastructure projects before he switched to oyster farming.

Andre told that they had found an appropriate place for the farm in Crimea at the end of 2013, but the annexation of Crimea frustrated their plans. In 2014, farmers settled their first oyster spat on the coast of mainland Ukraine in Kherson Oblast near the Black Sea Biosphere Reserve and they had their first harvest of oysters in 2015. Later the farm was moved to the area of Tuzly Lagoons National Nature Park in Odesa Oblast.

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Leading scientists take part in the company’s work. The National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine carries out research on the premises of the oyster farm.

The owner of the oyster farm, Andre Pigulevskystated in 2016, “Our coast of the Black sea has huge potential for growing seashells, shrimps, fish in great volumes. But for now we have only single small farms, and the state could stimulate the development of domestic sea farming in Ukraine.” However, in his comment to Euromaidan Press Mr. Pigulevsky specified, that a year later he is not so optimistic about shrimp-growing, but seashell and fish farming on the coast of the Black sea can really offer great opportunities.

“We are going to resurrect the oyster business in Ukraine to the full, reach the harvest of 11-13 million oysters per year in 10-15 years on the Black sea coast,” Andre Pigulevsky lays bare his plans and adds, “Since oysters started often to die of unknown diseases in the Atlantic, the Black sea stands a good chance to be an oyster ‘Klondike’ in 15-30 years.”

Andre thinks that Ukraine may become a quite serious player at the European market, supplying such products as oysters, mussels, mullets. “There are high-end fish species in the Black sea. With the due attention of the business community and authorities, this may become a serious item of export and create hundreds of thousands of jobs across the entire coast,” Mr. Pigulevsky believes.

As of today, Skifian Oyster is the only maricultural farm in mainland Ukraine.

Experts believe that at least 20-30 thousand tons of shellfish can be harvested annually in the Black and Azov Seas.

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