A group of associations from the aquaculture, fisheries, and related sectors have been tasked by the government to formulate a strategy for the growth and development of their industries as part of the government’s overall growth plan. The team has made concrete suggestions that can help remove barriers to growth, where they exist, as well as promote innovation and creative thinking to increase the competitiveness of the sectors.
DGM Shipping is a successful processor of Baltic herring and sprat. Three years ago the company was nominated for the Prix d’Elite at the European Seafood Exposition in Brussels for one of its products. This year the company has just returned from Prodexpo in Moscow with a Gran-Prix for a similar creation.
The Estonian Trawling Association (ETA) is one of Estonia’s three producer organisations. Its factory, which processes sprat and Baltic herring, went on stream at the end of August 2010. Now, the organisation is looking to increase its capacity, enlarge its use of automation, and extend a quay that will improve the offloading of catches.
Japs is among Estonia’s leading companies in the fish processing sector in terms of the quantities of raw material processed and the number of employees. The company is vertically integrated with its own fishing vessels, processing facilities, as well as marketing, sales and distribution.
Ecofarm is a producer organisation for the Estonian aquaculture sector. Led by Oleg Epner it is in the process of implementing a swathe of new ideas that add value to fish farmed in Estonia, which can be sold on the domestic as well as international markets.
Political uncertainty is an obstacle to the smooth running of Estonia’s sprat and herring production. Still, the future looks bright with possibilities. We explore these developments from the point of view of the Estonian Fishing Association, the largest of the three Estonian producer organisations.
The fisheries sector in Estonia comprises marine and inland fisheries, freshwater aquaculture, and a processing industry. The marine fishery is further subdivided into the catches from the high seas, and the Baltic Sea. The former are sourced in the North-West Atlantic (NAFO), the North-East Atlantic (NEAFC), and Svalbard. The Baltic Sea fishery has two main components, a coastal fishery and an offshore pelagic fishery. In terms of volumes of fish caught, around two thirds of the total Estonian landings come from the Baltic Sea pelagic fishery, where the main species are Baltic herring and sprat. This is followed by the distant water landings, the coastal fishery in the Baltic Sea, and finally the inland fishery.
Estonian independence in 1991 led to the creation of a number of private companies in the fisheries sector. Among them was Pärnu Laht which started its operations processing the freshwater fish perch and pike-perch and selling the fillets to Western Europe. Since then the company has faced a number of ups and downs and today is working on the farmed production of perch.
The Hunt-Fish group has a track record selling perch fillets to buyers in the Swiss retail sector. At the end of last year the company together with perch fishermen invested in a processing facility to produce fresh perch fillets thereby removing two links in the value chain.