Fishing and ďŹ sh farming in Latvia move in different directions The Latvian ďŹ sheries sector, a term that encompasses capture ďŹ shing, aquaculture, and ďŹ sh processing, has seen several changes over the last few years. While the proďŹ tability of the ďŹ shing industry has increased, the decline in the number of ďŹ shermen and the number of ďŹ shing companies has continued. The processing sector is still wrestling with the consequences of the Russian ban on imports, but individual companies have had success with ďŹ nding alternative markets for its products. Production from aquaculture has increased slightly as more companies have come on to the market.
he fisheries and aquaculture sector in Latvia includes a wide range of fish-related activities. This diversity is reflected at retailers where the display at the fish counter of a big supermarket can contain a staggering variety of smoked, marinated, fresh, and salted products to say nothing of the cans, jars, trays, vacuum- and modified atmosphere packaged fish and seafood on the shelves. Annual consumption of fish and seafood in Latvia at 26.3 kg per capita (according EUROSTAT and EUMOFA,2015) is higher that the EU average and is based on products manufactured from locally caught fish as well as on imported raw material.
Fishing sector has well-defined fleets Latvian fishers operating in marine waters are classified into three groups: coastal fishers with vessels up to 12 m in length (a few
exceed this length) and who fish no more than 20 m from the coast in the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Riga; offshore fishermen who fish in the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Riga and whose vessels typically measure between 12 m and 40 m; and finally the high seas fishing fleet which operates primarily in the areas of CECAF (Fishery Committee for the Eastern Central Atlantic), NAFO (Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization), and NEAFC (North-East Atlantic Fisheries Commission). Vessels in this fleet segment are typically 40 m and above. Catches by the coastal fleet have hovered around 3,500 tonnes in total on average over the last five years. This is about 5ď&#x2122;&#x201A; of the total (offshore + coastal) catch in the Gulf of Riga and the Baltic Sea by the Latvian fleet. According to the EU fleet register there are currently some 600 active vessels in the Latvian fleet up to 12 m.
Latvian fishing fleet Fleet segment
Latvian quotas in the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Riga, tonnes Year
*individuals Source: Ministry of Agriculture.
These target a number of species, of which the most important in volume terms is Gulf of Riga herring which is 75-80ď&#x2122;&#x201A; of the total. Coastal fishers catch this with trap nets in the period from April to July, when the fish move to the coast to spawn. Other important species are flatfish (flounder,
turbot), salmon, and cod. Herring, cod, sprat, and salmon are regulated by quotas. Small quantities (about 50 tonnes) each of vimba, bream, smelt, eelpout and perch are also caught. A proportion of the smallest coastal vessels are used for sustenance fishing, that is, the fishers catch
2016 Capacity, kW
2017 Capacity, kW
Fishing fleet in the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Riga:
Of which, trawlers 12-24 m
trawlers > 24 m
vessels using net as main gear > 24 m
Fishing fleet in coastal area High seas Total
Source: Ministry of Agriculture