Fisheries and aquaculturearound the Baltic Sea
THE EU PRESIDENCY
3Expanding opportunities in the Baltic Sea region The Baltic Sea region is an important and thriving part of the European Union. The fi sheries sector is an integral part of the countries bordering the Baltic Sea, contributing substantially to national economies and forming the backbone of the regions cultural heritage. Concentrated in coastal areas, the fi shing and processing industry is vital to local economies. In past decades, fl uctuations in major fi sh stocks have aff ected the economies of Baltic fi sheries and fl eets negatively. However, improved fi sheries management, including management plans, the maximum sustainable yield (MSY) model, discard bans, and precautionary approach when setting quotas are showing positive trends in improvement of stock status.
Local fi sh landings are essential to the development of the processing industry and to the availability of local products on domestic markets. However, following the global trend of a declining supply of raw material, the regions processing industry is increasingly dependent on imports.
The EU has established a framework for environmentally sound and sustainable aquaculture, which aims to increase aquaculture production substantially. Each Member State will determine the extent to which this can be achieved through Multiannual National Strategic Plans, in the period 20142020.
As the currect holder of the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, Latvia encourages the Baltic Sea region to utilise opportunities to boost development and create jobs in coastal and inland areas, and expand economic, environmental, and socially sustainable growth. Promoting fi sh as a healthy and nutritious food product and cultivating consumer demand will strengthen regional economies, and increase the fi shery sectors standing and growth.
Jnis Dklavs, the Minister of Agriculture
of the Republic of Latvia
The Baltic coastline is densely populated and its ecosystems are intensively used. The Baltic Sea is open to the North Sea through the Kattegat and Skagerrak straits. It includes a signifi cant number of islands, especially off the coasts of Denmark, Sweden, and Finland. It forms two large gulfs the Gulf of Finland and the Gulf of Bothnia and in the south and southeast, it forms two small gulfs the Gulf of Gdask and the Gulf of Riga.
Low salinity and stratifi cation create special features in Baltic Sea ecosystems. The composition of fi sh species a mixture of marine and freshwater species adapted to the brackish water conditions changes from south to north as salinity and temperatures diminish. Cod, herring, and sprat are the main commercially valuable marine fi sh species. They are managed and assessed internationally. Flatfi sh species such as fl ounder and plaice are also fi shed, particularly in the north.
All the countries around the Baltic Sea, except the Russian Federation, are members of the European Union and have their fi shing activities regulated by the EU Common Fisheries Policy. In 2009, the European Union and the Russian Federation reached a bilateral agreement governing fi sheries in the Baltic Sea.
Specifi c to the Baltic Sea region is a strong tradition of cooperation through various key organisations involved in the management of Baltic Sea fi sheries. These include the Baltic Sea Advisory Council (BSAC), Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission (HELCOM), and the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES). Sustainable development in the region is being promoted by the European Union Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, approved by the Council of the European Union in October 2009. The strategy led to the establishment of the cooperation forum BALTFISH with the aim to strengthen cooperation of fi sheries administrations, as well as various stakeholders relevant for the Baltic Sea fi sheries.
Denmark is situated at the entrance to the Baltic Sea and is one of the worlds largest traders of fi sh and seafood. It depends less on domestic fi sh landings than other countries in the region. The country has an important industrial fi sheries which supplies the local fi shmeal and fi sh oil industry. The salmon-processing industry is the most important segment processing fi sh for human consumption.
The Danish aquaculture industry produces mainly rainbow trout, which makes up approximately 90% of total production, followed by European eel and blue mussel. Since 2008, Danish marine aquaculture production volume has increased sevenfold. Danish aquaculture is strictly regulated by environmental rules.
Estonia is located in the northeastern part of the Baltic Sea. Its has a 3,794 km long coastline thanks to some 1,500 islands.
Most catches in its Baltic Sea fi sheries comprise sprat and herring, but smaller volumes of cod, smelt, perch, and fl ounder are also caught. Estonian coastal and inland fi shing provides reasonably large volumes of freshwater fi sh, such as perch, pikeperch, and pike. The Estonian fi sh-processing industry exports more than 70% of its fi sh products. The aquaculture sector is constrained to its current level of approximately 700 tonnes by climatic conditions typical of the northern latitudes. Rainbow trout is the main species, representing approximately 90% of production. Common carp, sturgeon, and eel are cultured in limited quantities.
NB: This overview only refers to EU Member States.
The main Finnish fi shing zones are the gulfs of Finland and Bothnia. Finland has the biggest fi shing quotas in the Baltic Sea in total and the biggest catches of Baltic herring and salmon. The signifi cance of inland fi shing equals that of marine coastal fi shing and vendace dominates the catches. Aquaculture is more widespread in Finland than in other Baltic coastal countries and production is growing with the help of innovations. Rainbow trout is the main species produced, followed by European whitefi sh, but also other products have gained ground: sturgeon, black caviar, pike perch and nelma are the most promising newcomers at the moment. The rapid growth of the fi sh processing industry is based mainly on imported raw material, chiefl y salmon from Norway.
The Baltic Sea borders the northern Bundeslnder Schleswig-Holstein and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Although German fi sh consumption is not high, Germany has one of the largest fi sh-processing industries in Europe, dominated by large companies, and is one of the largest markets for fi sh and seafood in Europe. Most seafood is imported, with Alaska pollock, salmon, herring, tuna, and trout as the most important species, causing an increasingly negative trade balance. Aquaculture is carried out mostly in southern Germany. Rainbow trout, common carp, and blue mussel are the principal species.
Latvia is situated on the east coast of the Baltic Sea and is bound by the Gulf of Riga to the north. Fish resources and their utilisation have traditionally played a signifi cant role in the Latvian economy. Baltic Sea catches make up half of all Latvian catches. Historically, the fi sheries sector is export-oriented and has maintained a positive external trade balance since the early 1990s. The processing sector relies largely on local raw material. Although, the aquaculture sector is relatively small, it plays a noticeable role in regional development. Common carp is the main species produced, although small amounts of sturgeon, trout, pike, and crayfi sh are also farmed.
Lithuania is situated on the eastern shore of the Baltic Sea and has the shortest coastline (90,6 km) of all the countries around the Baltic Sea. Few local species are used as raw material by the large Lithuanian fi sh-processing industry, which depends chiefl y (95%) on imported raw material. It is the largest producer and exporter of surimi products in the region. The fi sheries sector is export-oriented, and EU countries are the main markets. Over the past decade, aquaculture production has increased 45%, with a focus on organic farming. Common carp is the main product, with smaller quantities of rainbow trout, sturgeon, African catfi sh, and European eel.
Located on the southern shore of the Baltic Sea, Poland is one of the largest Baltic coastal countries. The 528 km shoreline forms 15% of its border.
The Polish fi sh-processing industry is one the largest fi sh-processing industries in Europe. Approximately 13% of all EU employees working in the fi sh-processing sector are employed in Poland. Most raw material is imported. The country is one of the largest European producers of farmed common carp and rainbow trout. A few land-based farms produce North African and wels catfi sh. Sturgeon, tilapia, and barramundi are produced in recirculation aquaculture systems.
The east coast of Sweden borders the Baltic, and the archipelago contains tens of thousands of islands. Sweden has established a large number of marine protected areas around its coasts. Although the Swedish fi shing fl eet operates within an area stretching from the Northeast Atlantic to the northern Gulf of Bothnia, the Baltic Sea is by far the most important fi shing area. The fi shery and fi sh-processing sector is heterogeneous, ranging from small family businesses to large-scale enterprises. Most raw material is imported. Over the past decade, aquaculture production has increased steadily and is dispersed widely across the country, often in rural areas. Since the 1980s, rainbow trout has been the dominant species, followed by Arctic char and blue mussel.
TACs and QUOTAS
In the Baltic Sea, management of the commercially most important species (cod, herring, sprat, salmon, and plaice) is based on total allowable catches (TACs) and the quota system (sharing TACs between EU countries), and employs other effort limiting procedures, such as technical conservation measures, management plans, and effort regulation. Other species, caught in coastal waters, are managed nationally.
In general, quotas for various herring stocks in all fishing areas have fluctuated widely since 2010, but quotas increased in 2013 and 2015, over previous years.
Since 2010, quotas for sprat and salmon have fallen continuously.
In general, quotas for both the Eastern and Western cod stocks have fluctuated since 2010, mainly as the result of declining cod stocks. Quotas for plaice, which fluctuated slightly up to 2012, have remained stable since 2013.
2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
DE DK EE FI LV LT PL SE
2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
DE DK EE FI LV LT PL SE
2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
DE DK EE FI LV LT PL SE
In the Baltic Sea, cod, herring, and sprat make up approximately 90% of total catches. Fishing is most intense in the southern part of the Baltic. The most common species, targeted by small-scale coastal fisheries, are cod, various flatfish species, smelt, perch, pike-perch, pike, and roach.
Baltic aquaculture accounts for a signifi cant share of the total European aquaculture output of fi nfi sh species. However, in the period 20092013, the aquaculture industry slowed down. The sector makes the most of its technological developments, innovation, and synergies with other sectors, such as tourism, traditional fi sheries, and co-location with off shore wind farms. Recently, recirculating aquaculture systems have become more common, encouraging concentration on more valuable species.
Freshwater aquaculture production is more developed than marine aquaculture. Poland and Denmark are the largest producing countries, followed by Germany, Sweden, and Finland. Marine production is relatively low. Denmark and Finland are the regions major marine producers. Shellfi sh production is led by Germany and followed by Sweden and Denmark.
The main species, rainbow trout, has a 71% share of the regions total aquaculture production followed by common carp with 20%. The remainder is made up of European eel, sturgeon, pike-perch, pike, tench, and others.
Rainbow troutProduction of rainbow trout is divided into marine trout (43%) and freshwater trout (57%).
Only Finland, Denmark, and Sweden have hydrological conditions suitable for sea cage systems producing marine trout. Production in Sweden has increased strongly, whereas other countries have maintained stable production levels. Marine trout production has increased because of rising prices for large trout produced in cages, which is driven by globally rising salmon prices.
Production of freshwater trout slowed between 2009 and 2013. Denmark is the largest producer of freshwater trout (21,400 tonnes), followed by Poland (15,500 tonnes) and Germany (9,000 tonnes).
DK EE, LV, LT FI DE PL SE
Total value Total volume
Total aquaculture production, 2012
Common carp Various carp species are produced in the region, using mostly extensive technologies. Common carp is the second largest farmed species after rainbow trout. Overall production of common carp in the region decreased between 2009 and 2013. Poland is the main producing country (18,000 tonnes), followed by Germany (5,000 tonnes).
European eelAlthough European eel is produced in limited quantities in every country in the region, Denmark
leads in the production of European eel, using land-based recirculation systems. The recovery plan for European eel stocks, adopted in 2007, requires Member States to define an eel management
plan, which oversees among other aspects, reducing fishing mortality, restocking glass eel, and improving conditions for eel migration.
Blue musselBlue mussel farming is a small, recently-developed segment, both in volume and value. Like seaweed
farming, mussel farming is seen as a potential means to reduce the environmental impact of marine farming. Germany and Denmark are the main producers of blue mussel.
The countries around the Baltic have a well-developed tradition of fish processing. There is high...