croatia_mapCapital: Zagreb
Population: 4.5 million (2015 est. World Factbook)
GDP: €52.8 billion (2014 est. World Factbook)
GDP/capita: €12.500 (2014 est.World Factbook)

Fish production:
Capture: 78,928 tonnes live weight (2014, Eurostat)
   Aquaculture: 13,720 tonnes live weight (2014, Eurostat)
   Export value: € 187.1 million (2014, Eurostat)
   Import value: € 127,5 million (2014, Eurostat)

Overview of the Croatian fisheries and aquaculture sector (Currently under review)

Fishing sector
With a sea surface of 31,067 km², over 1,246 islands and a coastline of 5,835 km (mainland and islands), Croatia has a long tradition in fisheries which provide a source of income throughout the year for the coastal and island communities. In addition, to being a source of supply for healthy food, fisheries are particularly important for adding value to the coastal tourism.

Commercial fishing is represented primarily by small-scale coastal fisheries: more than 80% of the fleet comprises vessels less than 12 m in length. However, the largest percentage of the catches (89%) is made by purse-seines, which represent ca. 5% of total fishing vessels. Croatia has 7313 (in 2014) fishing fleet while bottom trawlers account for some 14% of the fleet.

Fishing takes place mostly in the Adriatic Sea, and it is characterised by multispecies fisheries. More than 45% of Croatia’s fishing vessels are registered as multipurpose vessels that use different gears during the course of the year. The catches are primarily small pelagic species, sardine, and anchovy, which make up ca. 90% of the catches. The remaining catch is split between other fish (6%), bivalves and shellfish (2%), and crustaceans (2%).

Catches have increased from about 44,000 tonnes in 2005 to almost 79,000 tonnes in 2014.

Processing and trade
Capture small pelagic fish is transformed chiefly into salted and canned products. Smoked and marinated products are also produced in small quantities.

Croatia is a net exporter of fish and seafood products. Export of farmed tuna is ranked fifth highest in the total export of agricultural products of the Republic of Croatia. Japan is the most important destination for Croatian tuna, while within the EU, Italy and Spain are the main export destinations for fresh fish and salted products, respectively. Demersal fish and cephalopods are exported fresh mainly to Italy. Export of fish and seafood in 2014 amounted to about EUR 187.1 million, split more or less equally between the EU and destinations outside the EU.

The value of Croatian fishery import is significantly lower than the value of export. Frozen herring, which is used to fatten tuna, is the most imported species, followed by frozen squid. Imports originate mainly in Spain, the Falkland Islands, Norway, Sweden, and Italy and amounted to a total of EUR 127,5 million.

The aquaculture industry covers both marine and freshwater species. The most important marine species produced are seabass (Dicentrarchus labrax) and seabream (Sparus aurata), representing ca. 66% of the mariculture production volume (2013). The cultivation of these two species has increased rapidly from a mere 2,500 tonnes in 2001 to 5,200 tonnes in 2010, though it fell back to around 4,500 tonnes in 2012. The second largest marine species cultivated is the Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) which represents on average ca. 25% of the volume of marine aquaculture production. Farming is based on catching small wild tuna (8–10 kg) which are then grown to market size of 30 kg and larger for sale to the Japanese market. Croatia also farms shellfish, mainly mussels (Mytilus galloprovincialis) and oysters (Ostrea edulis), using longlines to cultivate these species in specially designated areas, such as the west coast of Istria and the Novigrad Sea.

The freshwater farming segment in Croatia produces primarily common carp (Cyprinus carpio), and rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss), which represent over 50% and ca. 30%, respectively, of the total fresh water aquaculture volume production (4,441 tonnes in 2012). Small volumes of silver carp, bighead carp, catfish, tench, pike, and zander are also farmed.

Per capita consumption of fish and seafood in Croatia is estimated at 8 kg. Total consumption of fish and fish products per capita is significantly lower than in other Mediterranean countries. Consumers prefer captured fish, fresh, whole, and domestically produced. A small percentage of processed fish is consumed, usually as canned products. Fish is consumed mostly at home, traditionally once a week (on Friday) and during some holidays. The consumption of fish is higher in coastal areas than inland. Most fish is sold at traditional fish markets where the availability and freshness of fish products is considered very good.

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