Overview of the Croatian fisheries and aquaculture sector
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.
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 (7%), bivalves and shellfish (2%), and crustaceans (1%).
Catches have increased from about 44,000 tonnes in 2005 to almost 75,000 tonnes in 2011. However in 2012 they decreased, mainly because the small pelagic catches fell by 11% compared to the previous year.
Processing and trade
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 2013 amounted to about EUR 115.2 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 79 million.
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.
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