Over the past few years, national seafood production has been steadily declining until 2013; in 2014, a slight increase in the quantity was recorded with a production of 325,000 tonnes of seafood. In terms of value, the negative trend continued also in 2014. This decline affects both marine fisheries and aquaculture. Molluscs are still the main product of the national aquaculture sector; the main harvest is of mussels (Mytilus galloprovincialis) and clams (Tapes philippinarum).
Riccardo Rigillo, General Director, Maritime Fisheries and Aquaculture, Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry Policies represents Italy in the negotiations on a multinational, multiannual management plan for the Central Mediterranean. A plan is necessary to safeguard certain valuable stocks, such as crustaceans, and to point fisheries in the Mediterranean in the direction of sustainability.
Although fish and seafood products have a positive image in Germany and are generally perceived as contributing towards a healthy diet per capita consumption has for years remained about a quarter behind the global average. One reason for this is the concern that many consumers have with regard to overfishing of the seas or unsustainable aquaculture methods. Internet portals are now to enlighten the public by providing objective information which could dispel such prejudices.
The Latvian fleet is active in the Baltic Sea, the Gulf of Riga, coastal waters, and also in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of western Africa. In the Baltic Sea the main catch in terms of volumes is of sprat followed by herring, cod, and flounder. In the Gulf of Riga on the other hand, Baltic herring is the primary catch followed by European smelt, while the coastal fishery targets mostly herring and flounder.
Aquaculture in Latvia consists primarily of the production of common carp farmed in earthen ponds. The volume of fish produced has remained broadly stable for the last decade at about 500 tonnes. Although carp production still dominates the total output from the aquaculture sector, its relative importance has gradually decreased over the last decade, from about nine tenths of the total production to about three fourths. The reason is the gradual increase in the production of other species including rainbow trout, sturgeon, crucian carp and pike. Production of these species has led to 26% increase in the total farmed fish production in the decade to 2014 to 680 tonnes.
The Latvian seafood processing sector produces a wide variety of products based on locally sourced as well as imported raw materials. Although per capita consumption of fish and seafood at 16 kg per capita is below the EU average (23 kg/capita), local supermarkets offer an impressive range of products – canned, smoked, salted, marinated, and fresh using many different species.
A number of fish species are produced by the fish farming sector in Latvia, but of the species where data is publicly available only three or four are produced in significant quantities. These include carp, sturgeon and rainbow trout. The volumes produced of other species, including tench, crucian carp, and pike, are between 10 and 15 tonnes a year. Rainbow trout production jumped in 2014, the last year for which data is available, by a factor of 9 from the year before, from 4 tonnes to 35 tonnes. The huge increase in production is all the more impressive if one considers that average annual production for the 10 years to 2013 was 4.3 tonnes.
The fisheries sector in Latvia is multifaceted and is represented by fishing, processing, trading, and fish farming. The fishing segment relies on the Latvian coastline that has a length of 500 km along the Gulf of Riga and the Baltic Sea as well as 2,400 sq. km of inland waters.
The Fisheries Service under the Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Lithuania has established and opened a sea-fisheries and aquaculture laboratory, the construction and modernisation of which were funded by the European Fisheries Fund. The laboratory was created through the Programme of Integrated Science, Studies and Business Centre for the Development of the Lithuanian Maritime Sector.
In Lithuania, a new trend has emerged in the way that aquaculture production is sold to consumers: a few local fish farmers and processors have opened their own retail outlets to sell their products. These specialty shops enable the producers to sell fish directly to consumers, bypassing the typical distributors of supermarkets or fishmongers. Three such businesses who have practiced this retail strategy are JSCs Išlaužo žuvis, Kintai, and Vasaknos. These firms established their shops in response to the growing desire for fresh, local fish shown both in Lithuania and in other EU countries.