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Lithuania Fish Catch Almost Halved in 2015

Lucy Towers
24 January 2017, at 12:00am

LITHUANIA - In 2015 the total fish catch was 83,705, which included the Baltic Sea, long-distance ocean and inland fisheries. The fish catch in 2015 was 44 percent lower than in 2014 because a higher catch in the Baltic Sea did not offset a reduced catch in the long-distance ocean and European Union Waters fisheries.

In 2015 most of the ocean fish catch was carried out in Moroccan waters, followed by Angolan waters and the Pacific Ocean region. The total amount of catch from the long-distance fisheries amounted to 58,293 MT, a 57 percent decrease compared to 2014 because of lower harvest of Mauritania fishing grounds.

In 2015 the total catch in the Baltic Sea amounted to 17,897 MT, an increase of 30 percent compared to 2014. The main species caught were European sprat, Baltic herring and cod.

Pelagic species (herring and sprats) are the mainstays of the Lithuanian harvests and accounted for almost 86 percent of the total fish catch in the Baltic Sea. In 2015 catch quotas allocated for herring, sprat and cod were utilized at 92, 96 and 51 percent, respectively.

In October 2015 the Council of Ministers agreed on a 20 percent reduction of the 2016 quotas for cod compared to 2015, resulting in a total allowable catch (TAC) of maximum 41,143 MT for the Eastern stock and 12,720 MT for the Western stock of the Baltic Sea. Member countries agreed on additional measures for the western stock because it is below sustainable biological limits. The 2016 quotas for sprat were lowered by 5 percent compared to 2015, to a TAC of maximum 202,320 MT.

In 2015 the main part of the fish catch came from the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, which in 2015 amounted to 58,293 MT. The fish catch in the Baltic Sea in 2015 was almost 70 percent smaller than the catch from the oceans. According to the Fishery Department of the Ministry of Agriculture, all catches from the oceans, an estimated 85 percent of Baltic Sea catches, and 40 percent of aquaculture is exported. As a result, the fish processing industry almost entirely relies on imports of raw materials. In 2015 Lithuania completed the process of reducing its fishing capacity, decreasing fishing capacity by 40 percent since 2004. The costs of restructuring of the Lithuanian fleet were covered by EU funds. 

As of January 1, 2016 the Lithuanian fishing fleet consisted of 145 fishing vessels. Lithuania has 11 long distance fishing vessels which operate in Morocco, Angola, Pacific and Atlantic waters. In 2015 104 vessels were used for coastal fishing and 30 vessels for Baltic Sea offshore fishing. The majority of fishing vessels used for costal fishing are of gross tonnage of less than 50 tons. The fishing fleet operating beyond coastal waters has been declining within the past few years because of the implementation of a boat scrapping program of the European Union. The program aims at reducing the capacity of fishing in response to reduced fish stocks.

Further Reading

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