Scaly plates of the most fashionable shades of the season lie flat on the table. The booth is full of girls. Without hesitation, they take a leather plate, apply it to clothes, eyes, evaluate: this one, blue, is surprisingly thin, soft, like a calf, and the white one is rougher. There are also finished products - wallets, phone cases. Fish skin is similar to snakeskin. Python skin bags are very popular with tourists visiting Thailand. They cost from $ 250-500. For many popular foreign brands that produce clothing and footwear, fish skin is not exotic for a long time, it is winning podiums, and a German company sheathes the steering wheel and car interiors with it.
“Our technology makes it possible to dress leather of different thickness and produce a wide range of products. For example, the skin of a pink salmon can be "filled" and made thicker. Gloves, shoes, accessories, various inserts in outerwear are made from it, - said the founder of the company, a resident of the Novosibirsk Technopark, Alexander Vasenev.
According to him, skins of all types of fish are suitable for the production of leather. Frozen raw materials are mainly from local suppliers. The latest achievement is chum salmon skin dressing.
“She doesn’t work well - she’s thin, torn,” explains Alexander Vasenev. - But it succumbed to us, it turns out stronger than a bull.
The project appeared thanks to the Summer School of the Technopark. Back in 2015, Sergei Shlykov, a second-year student of the Faculty of Economics of Novosibirsk State University, and a graduate of the Novosibirsk Technological Institute, Galina Gribovskaya, presented a project at the section on nanobiomedical technologies, which became the winner and received a grant from the Innovation Promotion Foundation in the amount of one million rubles.
Developed by young innovators, salmon skins have been transformed into tough, waterproof and beautiful leather. In the description of the project it is said that "to obtain a semi-finished leather product, raw materials (fish skins) are purchased in the amount of 33 thousand pieces per year. The leather product is designed for a wide range of consumers - enterprises for the manufacture of leather goods, shops selling semi-finished leather products, amateurs making design and author's handmade works ".
At the same time, the innovators noted that the processing of raw materials is laborious (the skins are processed frozen) and takes several days, so there is no reason to expect that fish skin will be cheap. And yet, according to experts, in mass production, a square decimeter of fish skin will cost less than snakeskin - on average, about two euros (python skin is one and a half to two times more expensive).
All previously existing technologies for processing fish skins could not do without harmful chrome tanning agent, which is prohibited for use in Europe. Innovators from Novosibirsk have proposed organic tanning agents and enzymatic preparations, that is, an environmentally friendly technology. In addition, it completely removed the fish smell from the finished leather. Instead of the initially used imported drugs, there are cheaper Russian analogues. All this allows planning to enter the markets of Russia and foreign countries.
Today the student project - the winner of the Summer School has developed into production with workshops in the city of Berdsk. It processes from forty to sixty kilograms of raw materials per week.
Vladimir Nikonov, general director of the Novosibirsk "Academpark", became interested in further prospects of the enterprise development at the forum. After all, a fish also has a head, for example.
- Now fish heads do not enter the technological process, but they could. Then we would rightfully be talking about the complex processing of fish waste. This could interest the Far Eastern regions, - suggested the representative of the resident company Igor Likhachev. - We have a technology that allows you to process the scalp and get cholesterol, and from cholesterol - the necessary vitamin D3.
Documents have already been submitted for obtaining patents for the use of fish skins processing technology in Russia.
"The capacity of the world market for fur and leather goods is approximately twelve billion dollars a year, of which three billion are in Russia. The volume of the Russian market for exotic animal leather is 150-200 million dollars a year. With integrated production, it is possible in the next three to five years to occupy up to three percent of the fish skin market. In the coming year it is possible to enter the Turkish market of leather goods and souvenirs, "the company representatives shared their plans.
By the way
The first in Russia to start making fish skins in the North Caucasus. Akhmed Shadiev, a resident of Ingushetia, developed a technology for making carp and sturgeon more than ten years ago, but then it was imperfect: despite the fact that the resulting skin had a beautiful appearance and a varied color palette, a light fish smell emanated from it. It took the developer know-how years to perfect the technology. In parallel with the search for the perfect formula for the manufacture of skins, which are essentially the waste of the fishing industry, in the workshop of Shadiev in Nazran, various leather goods were produced from the new material - bags, clutches, wallets. Fish passport covers, relatively inexpensive and unusual, were in great demand among buyers. Ingush designers even tried to sew clothes from exotic "fabric" - jackets and trousers. The models were mainly designed for exhibition shows.
Several years ago, with a grant of three million rubles received from the republican government, Akhmed Shadiev purchased modern equipment, thanks to which the process of creating fish skin became easier. With the help of new machines, Nazran craftsmen began to produce beautiful souvenirs - boxes and other products. They learned about Russian innovation abroad. Offers of cooperation from European countries and Turkey were poured in. With Turkish partners, the Russian has opened a fish skin workshop abroad.
"The leather industry is very developed in Turkey. It is not a problem to buy some dyes or chemicals there, unlike Russia," an entrepreneur from Ingushetia explained his choice. We managed to keep production in Nazran as well. Moreover, there they began to release the skin from other types of waterfowl, for example, from squid, which turns out to be very soft and elastic. It is environmentally friendly, and its production still uses commercial waste, which is a problem for many countries to get rid of. Products from Ingushetia are sent to other Russian regions and to Shadiev's partners abroad.