The gigantic oceanarium that opened in Russia’s Far East last year could become a centre of excellence in aquaculture with the help of the Skolkovo innovation centre.

 The Primorsky Oceanarium opened in the Far Eastern port city of Vladivostok last autumn. Photo:

A national marine biology centre opened on Sept. 1, 2016 using the resources of the Primorsky Oceanarium on Russky Island that opened a few days later, the Institute of Marine Biology and the Far East marine reserve. With the level of expertise centred here, along with world-class laboratories and equipment, a centre of excellence in aquaculture could be founded, believes Roman Kulikov, head of biotech in agriculture within the Skolkovo Foundation’s biomed cluster.

“It will be a lot of work to organize it, and we are going to try to take responsibility for that work and start work in 2017,” Kulikov told

The Vladivostok centre will present Russia’s marine policy in the Far East, said Sergei Maslennikov, a prominent marine biologist based in Vladivostok and director of the Ostrovnoi marine biotechnopark and research and education centre within the Far East Federal University. 

Marine biologist Sergei Maslennikov pictured at Skolkovo last year. Photo:

“The oceanarium has a clearly defined specialization: it’s an exposition, an educational function, while our centre is a research and education facility,” said Maslennikov. “The question is how to create a scientific and innovative component.”

The proposed new centre, he said, would create a bridge between the Far East Federal University in Vladivostok and the oceanarium “so that young people come to work here not just as tour guides and dolphin trainers, but to study the depths of the marine ecosystem.”

The planned aquaculture centre would focus on hi-tech areas such as genetic research and genome selection technologies.

“We need our own hi-tech corporations whose main asset are their people and their ideas – and that’s what Skolkovo focuses on,” said Maslennikov, whose Marine Biotechnopark project to develop highly productive strains of trepang, or sea cucumber, using modern genetic selection methods, is a resident of the Skolkovo Foundation.

The Primorye Oceanarium is one of the biggest of its kind, covering about 35,000 square metres. It is home to more than 500 species of marine and freshwater animals.

Read a longer version of this story (in Russian) here.