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How Trade and Sanctions Made This Russian Fisherman a Billionaire

  • Fish business gets boost from Putin’s food fight with West
  • Cod prices jump 13% in four years on global protein demand
The port of Murmansk on the eastern shore of the Kola Bay of the Barents Sea in the city of Murmansk, Jan. 14, 2017.
Photographer: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg
Updated on

Peering into the mid-morning darkness from his sixth-floor office on Russia’s Kola Bay, Vitaly Orlov strains to see the new factory he’s just built across the water, his view obscured by a creeping cloud bank that shrouds the Arctic seascape in impenetrable gray.

The $30 million structure is the crown jewel of Orlov’s Murmansk-based Norebo Holding JSC. Set amid rows of aging tenements and a wooden church, it was built to service Norebo’s fleet of fish trawlers that together hauled in almost 11 percent of the 4.75 million metric tons (5.24 million U.S. tons) the Russian Federal Fisheries Agency says were caught by Russian fisherman last year.