Overview of the Romanian fisheries and aquaculture sector (Currently under review)
Romania is a medium sized country with an area of 238 391 km2, of which 3,5% of the total surface, 843 710 ha are inland waters, including natural lakes and artificial water bodies. The areas which are of interest for fisheries activities are estimated at 500 000 ha stagnating waters, 66 000 km of running waters (in the mountain, hill and plain areas) and marine waters - 25 000 km2 the Black Sea Economic Exclusive Zone (EEZ). The Romanian Black Sea coastline is 256 km long. There are a number of significant rivers: the Danube (1 075 km), the Mures (761km) and the Prut (742km).
Fisheries, aquaculture, as well as processing, distribution and trade activities are present in all the regions of the country. Romanian commercial fisheries production stems from the Black Sea, inland fishing, and aquaculture. Fisheries and aquaculture Gross Value Added (GVA) is 0,0049% and the sector’s contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is estimated at 0,0086% (2008).
Fisheries and aquaculture are of particularly importance in the remote areas, where they represent the only source of income for the local population.
The fleet targets particularly small pelagic species, such as Black Sea shad and European sprat. In addition, it fishes flatfish (turbot), some shark/dogfish and, more recently, a large sea snail - Thomas’ rapa whelk. The available quantities of European sprat and turbot are subject to the EC TAC (Total Allowable Catches). The fishing activity is seasonal and is dependent on the weather conditions in the Black Sea, where there are large differences of temperature between winter and summer, as well as strong winds.
In 2013 the marine catches and landings were of 1617,3 tonnes, due to the increase demand for rapana and almost EUR 1 mil, of which the main species (in volume) were: Thomas' rapa whelk (Rapana venosa) - 73%, European sprat (Sprattus sprattus) - 11%, Black Sea shad (Alosa maeotica), turbot (Psetta maxima) – 5% and Black Sea shad (Alosa maeotica) – 3%. Of these, the most valuable species were Thomas' rapa whelk (57%) and turbot (22%). All fish landed is used for human consumption.
Catches have remained stable over the past years. In 2014 they were approximately 2 600 tones. Cyprinids are by far the most represented species caught of which the most popular are: goldfish (Carassius auratus) - 44,6%, freshwater bream (Abramis brama) – 9,9%, roach (Rutilus rutilus) - 7,3%, common carp (Cyprinus carpio) - 6,6%. In addition, other species were also caught: pontic shad (Alosa pontica) – 8,3%, pike-perch (Stizostedion lucioperca) – 4% and wels (Silurus glanis) -5,6%.
The extensive farming method has the advantage of preserving the quality of the water. Cyprinids farming is compatible with sensitive habitats and provide environmental benefits. Many farming activities are conducted in Natura 2000 sites. Recently the extensive fish farms have become multifunctional and provide other service such as: ecological tourism, recreational fishing, educational activities related to the knowledge and protection of aquatic biodiversity.
There is a trend to diversify and increase the current aquaculture activities: In 2013 the first recirculation farm for the production of turbot has become operational, which can produce 150 tonnes of fish annually. In addition, the production of organic common carp has also been initiated.
However, the certification of aquaculture products still doesn’t play any role in promoting national production. The new species production occurred in aquaculture is still low, such as sturgeon species production.
The production is offered for the domestic market, export having a low level as ratio in the sold products. Howeer, the perspectives for development of the sector are good due to the increased market demand for aquaculture of products.
There is a great variety of value-added products such as salads, smoked, marinades, as well as primary processed fish (headless, gutted, portioned).
In 2012 the Romanian production of fish and seafood products was almost 12 000 tonnes and the sector employed 780 people.
The great majority of fish and fish products are distributed and sold through hyper-and supermarkets chains. Romanians household consumption is dominated by live/fresh fish followed by frozen fish, as well as marinated and prepared products. The top three preferred species are trout, carp, and salmon.
Useful Links for Romania
• Ministry of Environment and Climate Change- Department of Waters, Forests and Fisheries (Romanian)
• ANPA (National Agency for Fisheries and Aquaculture)
• Managing Authority for Operational Programme for Fisheries (Romanian)
• RomFish - Association of Fish Producers (Romanian)