Saturday June 25, 2022

Marine fishery catch on wane

Published : 28 May 2022, 03:42

  DF Report

Photo: Markku Saiha, SAKL via Luke.

Finland’s commercial marine fishery catch amounted to 97 million kilograms in 2021, being 15 million kilograms lower than in the year before, according to the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke).

The catch mainly consisted of Baltic herring and sprat caught offshore by the trawler fleet. In coastal areas, fishermen mainly deployed gillnets and trap nets.

According to the statistics of the Luke, last year’s Baltic herring catch totalled 77 million kilos, being 15 million kilos lower than in the year before. The sprat catch totalled 15 million kilos, up by two million kilos from the previous year.

“Of Finland’s Baltic herring quota set for the Gulf of Bothn, 56 per cent were reached. While the quota was increased significantly at the end of June, fishermen and processors did not have enough time to react to the change. The sprat quota was utilised in full,” said senior statistician Pirkko Söderkultalahti.

The bulk of the catch was fished from the Bothnian Sea, while Finnish fishing vessels also operated in the southern Baltic Sea.

A fifth of the catch was landed abroad, either in Estonia or Sweden. The largest catch volumes were landed in Finland at the ports of Kasnäs in Kemiönsaari, Uusikaupunki, Tuomarainen in Taivassalo, and Reposaari.

In Estonia, the largest volumes were landed at the southern port of Paldiski. A quarter of the Baltic herring catch landed in Finland was used for human consumption, whereas the majority was used as feed or was processed for fishmeal. The majority of the sprat catch landed in Finland was used as feed.

The value of the catch was EUR 28 million, calculated on the basis of fish producer prices excluding taxes. Financially the most important species was Baltic herring (EUR 16.9 million). The catch value has been decreasing since the middle of the previous decade.

In coastal fishing, the most valuable species was perch (0.7 million kilos), followed by European whitefish (0.3), salmon (0.2), pikeperch (0.2) and smelt (2.3). Catches of European whitefish, pikeperch and salmon were low compared with the long-term average (1980–2020), while perch and smelt had larger catches than on the average.

In addition to quotas, catch volumes were affected by the state of fish stocks and weather conditions, as well as disturbance caused by seals and cormorants, experienced especially by coastal fishermen.

The producer prices of both Baltic herring intended for human consumption (EUR 0.34 per kg) and industrial Baltic herring (EUR 0.19 per kg) increased in 2021.

“However, the producer price of the whole Baltic herring catch landed in Finland remained at the 2020 level, as a smaller part of the catch was used for human consumption in 2021,” said senior statistician Miikka Husa.

The producer price of gutted salmon (EUR 6.43 per kg) increased from 2020 (EUR 6.13 per kg).

In 2021, the producer prices of other important coastal fishery species were close to the 2020 level. The producer prices of perch (EUR 2.39 per kg), pikeperch (EUR 6.12 per kg) and gutted European whitefish (EUR 5.12 per kg) increased slightly, while those of pike (EUR 1.95 per kg) and burbot (EUR 5.10 per kg) decreased.

The producer price of farmed rainbow trout (EUR 5.20 per kg) increased for the first time since 2017. The price of Norwegian salmon increased in 2021, affecting the prices of Finnish rainbow trout. In 2021, the producer price of farmed European whitefish decreased slightly from the previous year, being EUR 10.21 per kg.

At the end of 2021, the register of commercial fishermen included 2,356 commercial fishermen in sea areas and 3,252 fishing vessels.

The number of registered commercial fishermen and fishing vessels first increased as a result of the stricter registration requirement set out in the new 2016 Fishing Act, but it has later stabilised. In contrast, the number of active fishermen has decreased steadily. Last year, 1,045 fishermen registered catches, half of the corresponding figure at the beginning of the 2000s. Some 40 per cent of the registered fishing vessels were operated in commercial fishing.