Since last year Olavi Petron has had to deal with a series of critical issues in the fisheries sector with international repercussions. In January 2014 Russian veterinary authorities found that some Estonian fish processing factories did not comply with their standards and rescinded the plants’ export permits. In August sanctions imposed by the west on Russia sparked a ban on imports of certain fisheries products to Russia from the EU, which also affected Estonian processors. The ban is still in place and the Estonian authorities are using different strategies to assist the sector.
Fishermen from more than 30 regions of the country displayed their products at the first All-Russian Festival of Fishery Products in Moscow that lasted for seven days. Besides providing customers with fish products the purpose of the event was to create a nationwide brand Russian Fish. The Federal Agency for Fisheries initiated the development of the Russian Fish brand to promote domestic fish products on the home market.
Eurofish held a meeting with and Ilya Shestakov, Deputy Minister of Agriculture of the Russian Federation and head of the Federal Agency for Fisheries to discuss areas of cooperation both with the administration and the industry. Mr Shestakov also answered several questions about developments and priorities in the Russian fisheries and aquaculture sector and discussed some of the impacts of the sanctions and counter sanctions.
The Norwegian seafood sector had another dream year, the second in a row, in terms of its export performance in 2014. Overall, the country’s seafood exports at NOK68.8bn (≈EUR8.2bn) represented a 12% increase over 2013 and this despite the sudden closure (for political reasons) of their biggest market, Russia, in August last year.
The fisheries and aquaculture sector in Norway is an important and growing part of the country’s economy. Highly diversified in terms of types of production, species, products, and above all, markets, yet the sector still has the potential to increase its contribution to the economy several-fold. Steering this development is Elisabeth Aspaker, Minister of Fisheries, who outlines here some of the ways in which this growth will be realised.
Finland, a country of some 5.5m people, has a per capita consumption of 14.6 kg well below the EU average of 22-23 kg. Domestic production of fish is modest – capture fisheries amounted to some 138,000 tonnes in 2013 and farmed fish to about 14,000 tonnes.
Lithuania’s inland waters are home to a number of species of which several are of commercial importance. The most important inland fishery takes place on the Curonian Lagoon, a water body separated from the Baltic sea by the Curonian Spit, but several lakes and rivers also have an inland fishery.
Lithuania’s high seas fishing fleet comprises some 12 vessels, a number which has stayed fairly stable the last few years, but which can also fluctuate depending on fishing opportunities. The fleet has been active in the Northwest and the North East Atlantic, the South Pacific, the EU Western Waters, as well as in the Svalbard fishing area, and the exclusive economic zones (EEZ) of Mauritania, Senegal, Guinea, Morocco, and Greenland.
Lithuanian aquaculture production is predominantly common carp, which amounts to about nine tenths of the output. The remainder comprises a number of species including rainbow trout, other carp varieties, sturgeon, eel, and catfish that are grown in different production systems. Further down the value chain sales of live fish are being replaced with more value-added products in response to changes in consumer demand.
The fish processing sector in Lithuania is based mainly on imported raw materials which are converted into a variety of products both for domestic consumption and for export. Some companies are also using locally-caught and locally-farmed fish to add variety to the range of products they manufacture.