This article featured in EUROFISH Magazine 3 2020.
A project consortium with partners from Albania and Croatia intends to improve the skills of fishermen by developing a master’s degree in marine fisheries and by upgrading vocational training to provide Albanian fishermen with internationally recognized skills. The agriculture, forestry and fisheries sectors are the main employers in Albania with a share of more than 40%. With regards to fisheries, Albania, as an EU candidate country, is obliged to conduct reforms before it can implement the EU Common Fisheries Policy. At the same time, there is a trend to expand the Albanian fishing fleet with more trawlers and purse seiners. Compared to other Mediterranean fishing fleets, however, Albania’s fleet is small, accounting for less than 1% of the total.
The fish processing company Koral is among the biggest players on the Albanian market. Relying both on domestic as well as imported raw material Koral processes and packages fish, crustaceans, and cephalopods for the domestic market as well as for exports.
Along the eastern edge of Albania, where it borders Macedonia and Greece, are three lakes; Lake Ohrid, and the greater and lesser Prespa Lakes. Lake Ohrid, the largest of the three, is shared by Albania and Macedonia, with about a third of the approximately 350 sq. km surface area on the Albanian side of the border.
Mare Adriatik based in Shkoder is a company with interests in fishing, processing, and farming. It is the only enterprise to farm mussels in the bay in Shengjin in the north of the country as opposed to the traditional mussels cultivating grounds in the Butrinti Lagoon.
The Faculty of Agriculture and Environment at the Agricultural University of Tirana has a laboratory for aquaculture and fishery. The laboratory is based in Durres and is led by Dr Jerina Kolitari, a specialist in fish otoliths.
The company Rives was established by Spiro Fuqi, a chemical engineer by training, some two decades ago. Located on the outskirts of Pogradec, a city on the shore of the Lake Ohrid and a few kilometres from the border with Macedonia, Rives specialises in completely natural products created from the fish caught in the lake.
The Albanian fisheries and aquaculture sector is diverse. It comprises a marine fishery, an inland fishery, freshwater aquaculture and marine aquaculture. In addition, there is a processing industry that uses domestic raw materials as well as imports to supply local and overseas markets.
Although a career academic, Professor Edmond Panariti, is no stranger to politics having served in the Tirana municipality before becoming first Minister of Foreign Affairs in 2012 and a year later Minister of Agriculture, Rural Development and Water Resources, a position he has held since. As the person ultimately responsible for the administration of the fisheries sector in Albania, Professor Panariti has several ideas to increase productivity and efficiency.