Something fishy was going on this summer at AirBridgeCargo. The scheduled-service freight arm of the Volga-Dnepr Company recently moved 1.24 million hatchery-raised muksun, a type of whitefish, to their native habitat in the fresh coastal waters of northern Siberia, near the Arctic Ocean.
The fish were transported in four 2.5-tonne water-filled containers, equipped with oxygen tanks for aeration, from St. Petersburg to the city of Salekhard in Northern Russia on a 737 freighter operated by AirBridgeCargo. The airline said the trip is believed to be the first time muksun have ever flown by air.
During the flight, the cargo hold was maintained at a temperature range of 7 to 10°F, and the containers were accompanied by fish-breeding experts. The fish currently only weigh about one gram each, but will grow up to be 23 to 24 inches long.
This million-muksun march was a joint effort of Volga-Dnepr and AirBridgeCargo’s longtime partner, Air Charter Service. The group’s engineer developed a special loading plan for the flight. Then, the airline used special equipment to unload the fish in the containers once they arrived in Salekhard.
The fish were bred at a fish hatchery near St. Petersburg as part of a program to increase the population of muksun in Siberia’s Ob and Irtysh river basins. The fish have been released into the Ob River and, once they are fully grown, will represent up to an additional 150 tonnes of muksun fish in the river.