Planners have given the go-ahead to a giant fish farm at Chelston scheduled to produce over £20m of caviar a year.
Russian entrepreneur Igor Stopnikov is behind a plan to build a 100,000 sq foot facility that will produce caviar in Wellington worth up to £22m a year at retail prices, making it by far the town’s biggest business.
Caviar is one of the world’s most expensive foods, costing around £85 for a 30g tin of the tiny black sturgeon eggs.
The fish will be farmed at a site on the Westpark26 industrial estate adjoining Chelston roundabout.
Stopnikov’s company has applied for planning permission to build a “caviar factory” at the small industrial estate. In five years time it expects to employ 13 people and produce around eight tons of Osietra Caviar each year.
In addition the plant will produce around 35 tons annually of what are described as sturgeon fish products. Their value could take the annual revenues of the fish farm close to £30m, dwarfing even long-established business such as Relyon or Swallowfield.