This article was featured in EUROFISH Magazine 5 / 2020.
As in other countries the pandemic’s impact on the hotel, restaurant, and catering sector was brutal. Producers of canned fish products, an important part of the Latvian processing industry, however experienced an uptick in demand as consumers took to stockpiling shelf stable goods and those with long expiry dates in the early days of the virus’ spread. The canning sector forms an important part of the Latvian fish processing sector with a tradition that goes back over a century. Today there are a handful of large companies that are the main producers and exporters of canned products down from some 20 firms a couple of decades ago. These companies belong to the Union of Latvian Fish Processing Industry, an association that decides the criteria behind the label Riga sprats in oil, which the companies use to market their canned sprats. The raw material for this well-known product, exports of which go around the world, comes from the Baltic Sea. The canning industry faced a crisis in 2015 when Russia embargoed canned products from Latvia. Since Russia was the single most important market for several producers this development contributed to the restructuring and consolidation among canned fish producers. Since then canneries have expanded their export markets mainly to the EU, but also to other countries such as Canada, Japan, and the US. Processing facilities are certified to EU standards, but also to other international standards such as International Featured Standards (IFS), British Retail Consortium (BRC), or GOST (for Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries). Cans account for only part of the output from the processing sector, other products include smoked, salted, and preserved fish. According to the 2019 STECF report on the EU fish processing sector, Latvian processors are active importers and exporters of fish and seafood. Data from the Central Statistics Bureau of Latvia show that exports of processed fish products increased steadily in value from 2016 to reach EUR93m in 2019, a growth of 42% over the period, while volumes increased by 17%.On the other hand, the export value of fresh, chilled or frozen fish declined 11% to EUR73m. Raw materials, other than those available from Latvia’s Baltic Sea catches, are supplied by other countries. Imports of chilled or frozen fish between 2016 and 2019 increased 2% in value to EUR128m, while the volume actually fell 4% to 64,000 tonnes. The main trading partners for supply of raw material are Denmark, Estonia, Lithuania and Poland.
Regulatory conditions have improved the last years
This article was features in EUROFISH Magazine 4 / 2020.
The regulatory framework under which the small-scale fishery in Denmark operates has gone through several changes over the last years. The revisions seek to secure its future, make it even more sustainable, and give young people an incentive to join.
It is just after 05.30 as the vessel leaves the harbour on a clear calm morning at the end of May. The sea is utterly still and Morten Krogh, a young coastal fisher, busies himself in the cabin pulling on oilskins and filling out his logbook as the boat pulls out. The vessel is sailing from Vedbæk, north of Copenhagen, along the Sound (Øresund), the narrow channel of water between the west coast of southern Sweden and northern part of Zealand, the largest Danish island. Vedbæk is one of some 50 Danish harbours that are part of havfriskfisk (literally, sea-fresh fish). Started in 2012, it is a website (www.havfriskfisk.dk) that enables consumers interested in fish straight from the sea to sign up to receive a text message. The SMS announces the arrival time of the vessel and the species for sale. The species vary slightly from season to season but cod and plaice are staples with turbot, brill, mackerel, and the odd sea trout available in spring and early summer, as well as cod and lumpfish roe in the first quarter of the year. Fishers like Morten Krogh use the facility to sell their catch to consumers without involving middlemen—a win-win situation for fisher and consumer alike.
Successful transition from carps to high-value species
This article was featured in EUROFISH Magazine 4 / 2020
Armenia has favorable climatic conditions for the commercial breeding and growing of species of trout (Salmonidae) and sturgeon (Acipenseridae). The country’s rich resources of subterranean water and its suitable climate enable the commercial production of these fi sh all the year round.
The potential of the fishing sector has been recognized by private companies who have contributed to developing the industry. Their efforts have meant that Armenia today has a large number of companies with extensive experience in the production of fish and efficient management skills.
Steady progress towards understanding the eel
This article was featured in EUROFISH Magazine 4 / 2020.
An ongoing project to further knowledge about the European eel and to close the breeding cycle brings together researchers from DTU Aqua and companies interested in farming eels. The work in the project builds on the results from two others also coordinated by DTU Aqua. Significant progress has been made, but commercial production is probably still a decade away.
Croatia steers Presidency of the EU Council despite coronavirus
This article featured in EM 3 2020.
Holding the rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union is a challenging task at the best of times. Despite being a small country, holding the Presidency for the first time, and facing a Europe-wide health and economic crisis, Croatia intends to make progress on key fisheries and aquaculture issues on its agenda, says Ante Misura, Assistant Minister with responsibility for fisheries in the Ministry of Agriculture.
Since the 1st of January, Croatia has taken over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. What are the main priorities for the fisheries sector on the agenda during the 6-month presidency, and are they going to be achieved, given the current Covid-19 crisis?
This is our first Presidency since becoming an EU Member State. It came at a time of many changes, with the new Commission and Parliament on board, and with the UK leaving the EU family. The Presidency often faces unplanned situations, but the Covid-19 crisis is without precedent in recent history. From a practical point of view, meetings at the Council could no longer take place as planned, and it has therefore been difficult to make progress within our 6-month term. In light of the crisis, our priority was to find a way to help the fishery and aquaculture sector to better cope with the consequences of the pandemic. In close cooperation with the Commission and the Parliament, we managed to adopt urgent new measures that will support fishermen, aquaculture farmers and processors. However, our main priorities have remained the same, and are related to two important subjects. First are the negotiations on the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund for the 2021-2027 programming period. We aim to achieve as much progress as possible in inter-institutional negotiations, and have found a way to continue working with the Commission and the Parliament in these challenging times. Our second priority is to make significant progress on the new fisheries control regulation, and we believe we will achieve it by the end of our Presidency. Our goal is to reach a Partial General Approach in June, as planned.
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.
Significant potential to be realised
This article was featured in EUROFISH Magazine 3 2020.
Capture fisheries production in Kazakhstan comes from the waters of the Caspian and Aral Seas, Balkhash, Zaysan lakes, Bukhtarma, Kapshagai, Shardara reservoirs, Alakol system of lakes and other ponds with a total area of over three million hectares. More than 70 fish species live here, including the most commercially valuable (zander, common carp, grass carp, silver carp, whitefish).
A vision for growth is being realised
This article featured in EUROFISH Magazine 2 2020.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is famous for its vast oil reserves, a quarter of the world’s total, and for the dominance of its economy by petroleum and associated industries. However, growing diversiﬁcation of the Saudi economy has beneﬁted some sectors. In agriculture the Kingdom is now self-sufﬁcient in the production of milk, eggs, wheat, and other commodities. In addition, the country is a major exporter of fruits, vegetables, dairy products and ﬁsh and seafood to markets around the world.
In 2020–2023, the Ministry of Rural Affairs is planning a campaign to introduce and raise awareness of fishing and aquaculture products in Estonia. The aim of the campaign is to motivate Estonians to eat more fish, and to expand consumption of fish in the broadest sense.
Current consumption of fishing and aquaculture products in Estonia is significantly lower than the average of Estonia’s neighbours or of the EU, where per capita consumption of seafood is 25 kg per year (EUMOFA). Estonians consume some 17 kg of fish per person annually. This amount includes both consumption at home and away from home. In comparison, more fish was consumed in the past: about 30 kg per person annually in 1970, 25 kg in 1980, and 23 kg in 1989. These amounts should, of course, be considered in light of the fact that the trade, availability of food products, and selection were significantly different back then compared to the current situation.
This article featured in EUROFISH Magazine 2 2020.
Researchers at the University of Oviedo work to prevent the spread of invasive alien species through research and outreach. Invasive alien species are among the most serious threats to biodiversity in the EU and are particularly damaging to vulnerable ecosystems such as those found on islands.
Invasive alien species (IAS) can bring important economic and social benefits to society in the short term but may have deleterious impacts on natural resources that can last for generations. A report by the European Environmental Agency in 2012 estimated the impact of IAS on human life and health, and damage to agriculture, forestry, and fisheries to be in the range of EUR12bn per year in Europe.