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Lithuania_mapCapital: Vilnius
Population: 3.5 million (2013 est., World Factbook)
GDP: € 34 billion (2013 est., World Factbook)
GDP/capita: € 9,714 (2013 est., World Factbook)

Fish production:
  
Capture: 66,948 tonnes (2012, FAO)
   Aquaculture: 3,600 tonnes (2012, FAO)
   Export value: € 348 million (2013, Eurostat)
   Import value: € 322 million, (2013, Eurostat)
 

Overview of the Lithuanian fisheries and aquaculture sector

Lithuania has relatively short coastline of 90 km. Its territorial waters and exclusive economic zone in the Baltic Sea amount to 7,000 sq. km, but Lithuania has significant inland waters covering 2,621 sq. km or 4% of the country’s territory. This includes a number of important rivers such as the Nemunas (475 km) and the Neris and several lakes and artificial water-bodies.

The total value of the fisheries sector is less than 1% of the country’s GDP. However, fisheries have a long tradition and play an important role in small communities in coastal areas. Lithuanian fisheries sector provides employment to about six thousand people in coastal regions, smaller towns and rural areas, where there is a lack of alternate employment opportunities.  About 70% of the employees are women, who are traditionally occupied in the fish processing industry.

Fishing sector
Marine fisheries represent about 97% of the total Lithuanian catch.  Lithuania’s fishing fleet is overwhelmingly made up of small coastal fishing vessels under 12 m long, numbering 108 vessels in 2012, while only 32 fishing vessels operate in the open Baltic Sea. The Baltic Sea marine fishery comprises five main commercial species, of which cod is the most important in value (2012). Other species caught in the Baltic Sea include herring, sprat, turbot, and flounder. Catches of herring and flatfish have fluctuated substantially over the past years. All fish landed are used for human consumption. Approximately 70% of the fish landed is sold through the Klaipeda fish auction.

Eight fishing vessels are operating off the West Africa coast (exclusive economic zones of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, the Kingdom of Morocco, Guinea and Senegal). The Lithuanian high-seas fleet fishes in NAFO, NEAFC and SPRFMO regulated waters. The main commercial species in the high-seas fisheries are mackerel, sardinella and redfish, as well as shrimp caught in the Svalbard area.

Inland fisheries account for about 2% of Lithuania’s total catches, the Curonian Lagoon being the most significant inland fishing area.

Aquaculture
Lithuania has 9.2 thousand hectares of fish ponds in which mostly carp is produced. Aquaculture companies are focused increasingly on organic production. Currently, organic fish is produced in more than 50% of the total water reservoirs.

In 2012, 4,500 tonnes of fish were farmed with a value around EUR 7.6 million. Organically farmed fish constituted 33% of this volume.  Common and bighead carp amount to about 95% of the total production, but also pike, tench, sturgeon and other species are cultivated. About 60% of the farmed fish is sold on the domestic market and the remainder exported to Ireland, Latvia, Sweden and Estonia.

Fish processing
There are 40 fish processing companies distributed across almost all the counties. However, given its coastal location, Klaipeda is the most significant county.

The main species used for processing are herring, cod and salmon. These are made into a variety of products including frozen, dried, smoked and canned fish. A wide selection of surimi and culinary products is also produced by the processing sector. In 2012, 82 thousand tonnes were produced in total, of which 29% were surimi products, 17% fish fillets and 20% smoked fish.

Trade
Broadly speaking, most raw materials are imported, while most of the processed fish is exported. In 2012, Lithuania exported 92,300 tonnes of fishery products with a value of around EUR 348 million and imported 110,800 tonnes with a value of about EUR 322 million. Surimi products represented about 30% of the total export volume. The main market is the EU with Germany, France and the Baltic states the most important destinations. Exports to the Russian Federation and other CIS countries have been stable for several years at about 5% of the total export volume.

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- Eurofish Magazine 5 2009Klaipeda Fish Auction - Changing the structure of the fish market takes time- Eurofish Magazine 5 2009
 
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