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LATVIA

Latvian ďŹ shers focus on sustainability and value-addition

Concerted efforts to ďŹ nd new markets The swiftly changing economic situation both locally and globally has obliged the ďŹ shermen of Latvia to adapt their century-old ďŹ shing practices, catching, landing, and selling of ďŹ sh followed by departure back to sea, with which they could no longer either survive or develop. For thirteen ďŹ sheries companies the answer was to get together to form the National Fisheries Producers Organisation.

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he National Fisheries’ Producers Organisation’s (NFPO) main objectives are increasing competitiveness on local and global markets, rational utilisation of fish stocks, support to its members for storage and sales of the landed catch, ensuring catch quality, support for modernising equipment, sustainability certification for fish stocks, and development of catch plans and programmes.

Own fish storage to replace rented facilities soon All fishing companies fish from October to the end of March, when Baltic sprat and herring are of the highest quality. It is therefore important to ensure freezing facilities for fish storage, says InĆ—rijs Voits, head of the NFPO. Six out of thirteen members own refrigeration facilities, however their capacity is 200-400 tonnes, which is more appropriate for the daily turnover of frozen products. Up to now, we have been renting refrigeration facilities in Riga, Engure, Ventspils and LiepĆ—ja for the storage of products over periods of low demand, which is not cost effective. Therefore, this year, we will commission our own refrigeration facility in Ventspils, where our members will be able to store their products in six freezers for up to nine months.

Latvia’s National Fisheries’ Producers Organisation represents 13 fishing and processing companies with a total of 25 vessels out of 58 involved in pelagic fishing in the Baltic Sea.

For the construction of the new refrigeration facility, the organisation has pooled financing from different sources: its own and members’ capital, a bank loan, as well as support from the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF). The planned capacity of the refrigeration facility is 4-4.5 thousand tonnes of blocks or about 2 thousand tonnes of individually frozen sprats. Two out of thirteen member companies are currently producing individually frozen sprats. It should be pointed out that in 2016 NFPO member

companies exported 114 thousand tonnes of frozen fish to 45 countries of the world.

Fishmeal plant to add value to waste under consideration NFPO members also manufacture added-value fish products like sprat in oil, Baltic herring in brine and marinade, mackerels and sardines in oil and in various sauces. The NFPO is planning to build its own fishmeal production plant in 2018 to add value to the 

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fish waste that is created during fish processing, as well as to inferior quality fish that is caught, and which is not fit to be processed for human consumption. NFPO will implement this project with the support from the EMFF, which is available only when using fish classified as waste, or sourced from by-catch and which is not fit to be manufactured into products for human consumption. Currently in Latvia, only one fishmeal facility is operational, says Mr Voits. Over the fishing &VSPlTI !   

  

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