HUNDREDS of thousands of Russian families are tucking into tasty trout dinners thanks to a growing business in the west of the island.
Russia now accounts for a quarter of all exports of high quality trout eggs produced at Glen Wyllin Trout Farm in Shore Road, Kirk Michael.
In fact the success of the Russian connection is so great the company last week paid host to two visitors from St Petersburg.
Sergey Dmitriev and Vladimir Guzenko from distribution company Alfeus Ltd, gained first-hand experience of the workings of the state-of-the-art hatchery.
Gary Charsley, sales representative at the company, whose American parent company is Troutlodge, said the Kirk Michael operation currently exports around 60 million trout eggs to 26 countries and Russia accounts for 25 per cent of the total.
Mr Charsley’s son Roy is managing director at the farm and there are three permanent employees there along with a student ‘temp’ from France.
The company also operates from another site at Cornaa which is a broodstock and restocking facility.
This is the busiest time of the year for trout egg production.
Thirty one boxes, containing three million trout eggs were dispatched to Peru only last week. They were taken by truck to Manchester and then flown to Amsterdam and on to Lima in Peru.
As the company has expanded with European exports it has set its sights further afield with customers as far flung as Vietnam and Azerbaijan.
‘Mr Charsley said: ‘Because we supply such a large percentage of eggs to Russia our Russian representatives don’t have an awful lot of trout farm experience because they are only brokers. So they get questioned by the producers in Russia about production and production techniques. We put on seminars pretty much worldwide and I was recently over there and said to our Russian agents that I think they should come over here and get some hands-on training.
‘So we brought two of our agents over from Russia and we are making them work.
‘We did the theory and then kitted them out in gumboots and overalls and they are physically doing some work.’
Business News caught up with the two Russians as they were working near the newly renovated broodstock holding tanks holding thousands of ‘mother’ fish. As Roy Charsley threw feed into the giant tanks there was a ‘feeding frenzy.’
Development manager Mr Dmitriev and general manager Mr Guzenko were delighted with their fact-finding experiences in the island. Mr Dmitriev told Business News: ‘We are here for four days. It is a beautiful island and it has been very important for us to see the fish farm because aquaculture in Russia is a rising business.
‘We need a lot of eggs, a lot of fish it is a big market for fish in Russia and we are distributors for Troutlodge It was very important that we come and see the farm for ourselves.
Gary and Roy invited us here and we have been very impressed.
‘Myself and Vladimir have been joining in the work and it is very important that we see the farm for ourselves and that there are no problems here with the fish , the eggs and what we receive back home in Russia.
The two visitors work for a company which distributres the fish eggs across Russia especially the north and west of the giant country.
Mr Guzenko said trout was a very popular dish in Russia and was recommended for hesalth reasons.
As for th Isle of man: ‘The place is very beautiful, the Isle of Man is really amazing.’
He added: ‘I hope maybe I will visit the island again some time with my wife and children.’
Troutlodge acquired Glen Wyllin from Dr David Beard in November 2007, in a move designed to help the company service its customer base in Europe and the Middle East.
Gary Charsley praised the island government for its backing of the development and said it was highlycontrolled and disease free environment for developing trout.
The island was also an ideal base from which to have an export business.
Mr Charsley emphasised the healthy values of people eating trout. ‘It is very much a healthy food and people around the world are appreciate that. The Germans, for instance are very big consumers of this sort of fish.’
Business News was given a guided tour around the premises and Mr Charsley explained that timing is vital when exporting the boxes saround the world. There is normally a four day window for eggs to rteach their destination.
There are big plans for the future as the company looks to expand.