ESTONIA - In 2015 the total fish catch was 72,896 MT, which included the Baltic Sea, long-distance and inland fisheries. Fish catch in 2015 was seven percent higher than in 2014, because of higher Baltic Sea catch, which makes 81 percent of the total fish harvest.
The main long-distance activity areas were in the Southeastern Atlantic and Northeastern Atlantic fishing grounds.
Almost 80 percent of the fish from the Baltic Sea is harvested by trawling vessels. The Baltic Sea fishery is divided into the open sea fishery using trawlers and the coastal fishery. There are about 50 vessels in the Baltic Sea fishery employing around 500 fishermen.
The three most important species of commercial fish in the Baltic Sea are the Baltic herring, sprat and European perch. In 2015 the catch of herring, sprat, European Perch and cod in Baltic Sea amounted to 32,317 MT, 23,954 MT, 1,523 MT and 183 MT, respectively. Sprat and herring are landed mainly at Estonian ports where the catch is sold to fish freezing or processing companies.
In 2015 harvest of flounder and European smelt amounted to 239 MT and 435 MT, respectively. There are about 600 vessels in the coastal fishing fleet and around 2,500 fishermen, however, fishing is only a part-time occupation for most of them.
In 2015 the total catch from Atlantic Ocean was 10,995 MT, a one percent increase compared to the previous year.
Estonian vessels operate in the Northwestern, Southwestern and Northeastern parts of the Atlantic Ocean. Northern prawn is the main shrimp caught, accounting for 6,651 MT in 2015, over a 1,000 MT increase compared to 2014. Besides Northern prawn, the Atlantic redfish (1,512 MT), American plaice (537 MT), Atlantic cod (989 MT) and Greenland halibut (694 MT) were also harvested in 2015.
In 2015 the catch volume from inland waters amounted to 2,574 MT. The inland waters catch has been stable for the last decade. The main species caught from inland waters are perch, freshwater bream, pikeperch and eel, however, eel is the most valuable among them. Around 420 fishermen are employed in the inland fishery sector, most of them part time.
Aquaculture production in Estonia focuses up on fish and crayfish farming. In 2015 the total harvest of aquaculture production amounted to 798 MT (live weight) and was 11 percent lower than in 2014.
Rainbow trout and carp are the main species produced by Estonian fish farms. In 2015 production of rainbow trout amounted to 559 MT. In 2015 only 0.6 MT of crayfish was produced in Estonian aquaculture farms. In 2015 production of caviar from aquaculture was 7.3 MT, as compared to 3.1 MT in 2014. There are 20 commercial companies involved in fish farming. The sector employs only about 100 people.
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TheFishSite News Desk