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Once in the trap the fish can easily be retrieved by the fishermen. The method is gentle on the fish resulting in a high quality product.

Bledi Leskaj, together with eight others, fishes in the Orikumi Lagoon. The group is also responsible for maintaining the lagoon, keeping the inflow and outflow channels free of obstructions, and preventing poaching.

temperature changes are more rapid and more marked than in the sea. These fish form a resource that is exploited by the fishermen using different gear such as gillnets, trammel nets with a 37 mm mesh size, fyke nets, and hooks. However, the main gear used by the fishers responsible for over half the total catch is the fish weir (dajlan in Albanian), a gate-like structure constructed of wood and plastic canes placed at the mouth of the channel that connects the lagoon with the sea. The Orikum weir is kept open for about four months in the year generally from 15 March to 15 June. The rest of the year it funnels the fish that try to return to the sea into a trap from which the fishermen can easily scoop them out. The yield from the lagoon is modest, in the decade to 1990 it averaged about two tonnes of fish per year, a figure that fell to 1 tonne per year in the five years to 2000. Bledi Lekaj, one of the lagoon fishermen, says the catch last year

was just over a tonne, but according to him it has been gradually decreasing. There are fewer fish in coastal waters due to illegal fishing, he feels, and that has an immediate impact on the volumes that enter the lagoon. Another reason he thinks is the presence of fish farms. Feed that is supplied to the cages may attract wild fish, which do not then need to enter the lagoons to feed. Finally, the generally poor situation of stocks in the Mediterranean may also contribute to a reduction in the number of fish entering the lagoon.

and seabass, with eel coming in last. The group comprises nine fishers, a number which has not changed for years though individual members are replaced when a fisher retires or dies. The group also owns three two-man boats which are used to fish in other parts of the lagoon using nets or traps. The proceeds from the sale of the fish are divided among the members of the group every four days. A small proportion of the total is used for common purposes such as maintenance work on the lagoon or repairs to or replacement of the gear.

Cold storage could contribute to better price The fish is collected from the nets and the weir and brought ashore and taken immediately to markets in Vlora and even Durres. The fish is of very high quality as it is very fresh and caught with gear that

The fishery is managed by the fishers in close cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development, and Water Administration. When the fishers estimate that enough fish has moved into the lagoon from the sea, they inform the ministry which gives permission to close the weir. Catches of mullets dominate the production, followed by seabream

The Orikumi Lagoon Area: 799 ha Fishermen: 9 Boats: 3 Production: About 1 tonne annually Products: Fresh, whole round ďŹ sh on ice 


does no damage to the product. It could thus fetch a good price. The fact that it often does not is a result partly of natural and partly of infrastructural factors. The peak season for catches is in November and December. But as this is the peak season for all the lagoons, the market is flooded with this fish and prices drop. It would be much better if the peak catching season were between June and September coinciding with the tourist season, says Mr Leskaj. His group together with another that fishes in the neighbouring lagoon, Narta, are together in a Fisheries Management Organisation (FMO). But due to an erratic electricity supply the FMO has not been able to establish a cold store, a facility that could help the fishers stagger the supply to the market and support the price they get for the products. If that could be resolved the fishers may benefit more from the quality of their fish.

Species: Mullet, seabream, seabass, eel Peak season: November December Markets: Vlora, Durres



Profile for Eurofish

Eurofish Magazine 5 2017  

Featuring Albania's fisheries and aquaculture sector, this issue also looks at EU and Japan's trade agreement while the fisheries section co...

Eurofish Magazine 5 2017  

Featuring Albania's fisheries and aquaculture sector, this issue also looks at EU and Japan's trade agreement while the fisheries section co...

Profile for eurofish