INFORMATION ON FISHERIES MANAGEMENT IN THE REPUBLIC OF BULGARIA

February 2002



LOCATIONS OF MAIN LANDING PLACES

The main landing places of the country are located on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast, with smaller ones situated along the Danube River (Bulgarian stretch).

Table 1. Marine fish landing places in Bulgaria

Fishing Port

% of landings

Quantity (t), 2000-2001

Burgas
Sozopol
Varna
Nessebar
Balchik

48.0
34.0
8.0
6.0
4.0

11 280
7 990
1 880
1 410
940

Total

100.0

23 500

Source: Bulgarian Fishing Association (2000)

FISHERIES MANAGEMENT

Fishery sector overview

In compliance with the provisions of the Fisheries and Aquaculture Act (2001) (FAA) and the Waters Act (1999), commercial fishing and recreational fisheries cover the Bulgarian zone along the Danube, on-shore sea water areas, the territorial sea waters and the Black Sea exclusive economic zone (EEZ), as well as the Danube river areas and coastal lakes and marshland.

The sharp decline in national fisheries production in the early 1990s slowed, and has showed a moderate tendency for recovery. The factors influencing growth potential include the moderate fish demand in the country and .an increasing demand from abroad, improving recognition of the contribution of fishery to nutritional and food security, and the emergence of fishery as a sector for investment, employment and socio-economic development, together with the general development of the national tourism industry and agriculture.

Bulgaria is formulating fishery development policy in accordance with the particular national and international conditions and the nature of the resources. The objective is to manage the fisheries so as to ensure sustainable use of aquatic resources, economic efficiency and broad social benefits.

Reflecting the change in demand as the country moves to a market-oriented economy, a number of important changes have taken place in the overall national economy, affecting the domestic fishery economic system. Today, all fish trade is private, and 95% of the fish farms as well. In 1992, there were only 9 Black Sea fishing vessels, there were 40 in 1999-2000 and 62 in late 2000 – all of them privately owned.  Vessel registrations are summarized in Table 2.

In 2001, total catches were expected to reach 11 963 t, which would be a 27% increase compared to 2000 catches (9 653 t).

Table 2.  Fishing vessels registered by the State Shipping Inspectorate as of 1 January 2000

Number of vessels

Gross Registered Tonage (GRT)

Length overall (LOA) (m)

26

90 – 2 468

24<L<54

36

20 – 40

8<L<24

3 872

<20

L<8

Source: EAMA


Renewal of Bulgarian fish exports to EU countries is expected to stimulate national fish production. As a result of the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE – “mad cow disease” or “vache fou”) problem in Europe, demand for fish demand on European markets has continuously increased. Thus Bulgarian producers have the possibility of exporting seafood and added-value fish products to European countries, provided they receive both sanitary clearance and stimuli.

In 2001, fish exports were expected to reach 3 400 t (a 10% increase from 2000).  With increased national production, fish imports were expected to fall to 16 000 t (a 5% reduction). The value of export earnings from fishery products was about US$ 4.5 million for 2000.

Per capita fish consumption was expected to be about 3.5 kg in 2001.

Though the fisheries sector contributes less that 1% to national GDP, it is important for the economy of the country, especially in some less-developed areas along the Black Sea coast and the Danube River.

As of the end of June 2000, over 90% of the fish farming establishments and 100% of the Black Sea fishing industry establishments were in private ownership. There were over 70 private, state-owned and mixed-ownership companies operating in the sector, providing employment for over 7000 persons (including licensed individual fishermen in the Danube river and the Black Sea, and those involved with fish farming and commercial fishing in big state-owned and public-owned reservoirs).

All trade in fish and fishery products, including import, export and re-export, is carried out by private companies and individuals.

The distant-water ocean fishing fleet was broken up as a result of the liquidation of the state company Ocean Fishing in Bourgas. There is now only one registered long distance transportation-refrigeration ship in operation.

Over the last few years, the structure of the Black Sea fishing fleet has changed. The earlier medium-sized vessels of 80 GRT and over have been replaced by smaller and more mobile vessels of 10 to 50 GRT. In accordance with the EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), in the next couple of years it is expected that fishing effort and the number of vessels will be optimized.

Fishing activities in the Danube river region are carried out by private fishermen with commercial fishing licences. Fishing provides a living for more than 1 100 households in the Danube riverside regions, and represents the major source of income for a number of riverside villages. According to the statistics, Danube fish catches averaged 1 200 t/yr in the last few years.

Black Sea fishing is largely carried out by individual fishermen, operating under the fishing licensing system.  There is 100% private ownership of open-deck boats and nets, and 95% private ownership of fishing vessels. Licences issued are summarized in Table 3.

Table 3.  Licences issued by NAFA for industrial fishing in the Black sea and the Danube river in 1999

Licenses issued

Total

Danube river – fishing boats

1 497

Black Sea – total, of which: 

 2 935

Fishing ships
Fishing boats
Railing fishing nets
Trap nets 
Rapana (sea snail) 
Mussels farms

43
2 533
  43
98
216
2

Source: NAFA

The licensing system was extended in 2001 to cover the mainly private fishermen with industrial fishing operations in inland waters. The main purpose of the licensing system is to determine the terms, conditions and parameters of their activities so as to be able to protect, monitor and maintain reproduction of fish stock (artificial fish stocking). These inland reservoirs can maintain production of healthy protein food as well as promote development of recreational fishing and rural tourism in the mountainous and semi-mountainous areas. This provides an opportunity for the rural population to diversify their economic activities and earn additional income. There are 21 big (over 500 ha), 54 medium-sized (100-500 ha) and 4 686 small-sized dams in Bulgaria.

Some marine and anadromous species of commercial importance are endangered in the Black Sea and the Danube river (sturgeon, turbot, bonito and others). Similarly for some commercial freshwater fish, including some basic fish culture species, including Balkan trout and rainbow trout, common carp, silver carp, bighead carp, grass carp and others. In the period 1989-1998, the state did not fund fish culture reproduction in state water basins and reservoirs. The first restocking was carried out in 1998, with another, wider, restocking of the Danube river and several state-owned dams carried out in 1999.

The common foods of Bulgaria are vegetables, fruit, milk and meat, consumed in large quantities. The fisheries resources of the country have a significant role to play in providing healthy food, improving income, generating employment and complementing tourism and major animal and crop husbandry agricultural activities.

The licensing system was extended in 2001 to cover the mainly private fishermen with industrial fishing operations in inland waters. The main purpose of the licensing system is to determine the terms, conditions and parameters of their activities so as to be able to protect, monitor and maintain reproduction of fish stock (artificial fish stocking). These inland reservoirs can maintain production of healthy protein food as well as promote development of recreational fishing and rural tourism in the mountainous and semi-mountainous areas. This provides an opportunity for the rural population to diversify their economic activities and earn additional income. There are 21 big (over 500 ha), 54 medium-sized (100-500 ha) and 4 686 small-sized dams in Bulgaria.

Some marine and anadromous species of commercial importance are endangered in the Black Sea and the Danube river (sturgeon, turbot, bonito and others). Similarly for some commercial freshwater fish, including some basic fish culture species, including Balkan trout and rainbow trout, common carp, silver carp, bighead carp, grass carp and others. In the period 1989-1998, the state did not fund fish culture reproduction in state water basins and reservoirs. The first restocking was carried out in 1998, with another, wider, restocking of the Danube river and several state-owned dams carried out in 1999.

The common foods of Bulgaria are vegetables, fruit, milk and meat, consumed in large quantities. The fisheries resources of the country have a significant role to play in providing healthy food, improving income, generating employment and complementing tourism and major animal and crop husbandry agricultural activities.

The fisheries create direct benefit to at least 7 000 persons (including the secondary subsector), and provide a per capita consumption of about 3.3 kg (2000).

Objectives

The principle objectives of the fisheries sector, as cited in FAA, are:

  • sustainable development of fish resources, recovery, improvement and protection of biological equilibrium and diversification of the fish resources in the country’s ecosystems;

  • promoting the development of commercial fishing and angling, fisheries and aquaculture;

  • implementation of the rules of responsible fishery; and

  • fostering the consumption of fish and fishery products with a view to improving nutrition.

The Fisheries and Aquaculture Act (2001) is an attempt to provide a long-term perspective in promoting the sustainable exploitation of national aquatic resources and preparing the national fisheries sector for EU membership. The government is trying to provide support for further development of fisheries while paying attention to existing aquaculture and fishing practices, both inland and marine.

Through creating value-added products (including from imported fish), the fisheries sector should promote economic growth and well-being for the national population. This should increase national fish consumption, fish exports and the purchasing power of the population. At present, the long-term ceiling for national fish consumption has not been established.

In general, the national fishery sector has three main subsectors, namely marine capture fisheries and mariculture, inland fisheries (freshwater aquaculture and fishing), and the Danube fisheries.

MARINE CAPTURE FISHERIES AND MARICULTURE

In 2000, marine fish catches fell to 2 327 t, a 45% reduction over the 1998-2000 period.

The dominant species in catches remains sprat (Sprattus sprattus phalericus), at 1 736 5 t. Other species were gobies (ca. 500 t), horse mackerel (Trachurus mediterraneus ponticus) (111.3 t), shad (Alosa pontica) (18.8 t) and sturgeon (21.2 t).

Shellfish catches in 2000 increased by 2.9% compared to 1999, but were reduced by 8.6% compared to 1998. Of the total shellfish yield of 40157 mtin 2000, about 90% came from Rapana spp. (sea snails). Though there are legal restrictions and technical difficulties, the good market prices, offered mostly by the Japanese market, stimulate Rapana harvbesting. The Fisheries and Aquaculture Act (2000), and also the secondary legislation of the 1990s, prohibit bottom trawling and dredging, so diving remains the only legally permitted method to harvest Rapana.

The marine capture fisheries falls into two main types: coastal or inshore fisheries, and trawl fisheries.

In socio-economic terms, the coastal or inshore fisheries is an important, traditional subsector. It includes stationary trap nets, bag nets, gill nets, and also hook-and-line.

Species caught include sprat (Sparattus sprattus phalericus), gobies (Gobiidae), horse mackerel (Trachurus mediterraneus ponticus), bonito (Sarda sarda). Mussels (Mytilus galloprovincialis) and clams (Donax spp. and Venus spp.) are also of commercial importance in this area.

Secondary legislation coming force under FAA prohibits fishing vessels from operating trawls within 3 nautical miles of the shore.  This is to protect both fish spawning areas and traditional coastal fishing activities.

The fishing vessels range from 12 to 90 GRT, and from less than 8 m LOA up to more than 24 m LOA.

The fishing gear that contributes to the bulk of the landings is trawls catching primarily sprat.

Trawl fishery

The trawl is the main fishing gear used to harvest pelagic and demersal finfish resources in Bulgarian Black Sea system. Bulgarian trawl fishery contributes to more than 90% of the marine fish catches (mostly sprat). The trawlers land a limited number of fish species. One of most valuable of them, due to high foreign and domestic demand, is turbot (Psetta maeotica). The turbot stock has been overexploited for years, by both Bulgarian and foreign fishing vessels. The foreign fishermen even enter Bulgarian territorial waters (12 nautical miles from the shore) to fish turbot.

For 2000, the total allowable catch (TAC) for turbot was 70 t, and for 2001 it was 40 tt. The catches in 2000 were 55 t, compared to 64 t in 1998.

As bottom trawling and dredging are prohibited on the Bulgarian Black Sea shelf, molluscs (sea snails (Rapana spp.) and clams (Donax spp. and Venus spp.)) have to be taken by other, legally allowed, fishing gear.

For the period 1998-2001, shellfish catches were about 4 000 t/year. According to Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry data, a similar catch was expected for 2001.

The rapid development and concentration of the trawl fishery within the coastal waters has resulted in the intensive exploitation of the coastal demersal finfish.

Stationary trap nets

These operate in spring and autumn, and, though expansion of their number and activity along the coast, provide moderate catches, primarily of sprat, horse mackerel and bonito.

Mariculture

Mussel

Mussel (Mytilus galloprovincialis) culture relies on open-sea technology, and is highly mechanized, both for cultivation and for processing on board and ashore.  There are three mussel farms at Sozopol, using long-lines, and a mussel farm at Zelenka uses underwater constructions. A variety of value-added products are produced from mussels.

It is a desirable activity, with potential for development, but with a lot of problems to be solved in order to obtain good practical results, including environmental ones.

Artificial reefs

These are still under consideration.

Marine fish culture

Mariculture is also under consideration, and statal research and development activities are being applied in view of the important potential of the subsector.

COMMMERCIAL FISHING IN THE DANUBE RIVER (BULGARIAN STRETCH)

The Danube River is an important source of occupation for local fishermen and a source of valuable animal protein for the riparian population. Though the general tendency has been for improvement of the ecological parameters of the river, with less water pollution, the fisheries stock does not seem to have improved. For two decades, neither fish resources protection nor enrichment (restocking) have taken place, especially for valuable fish species such as sturgeon, common carp and Chinese carp.

The data on Bulgarian Danube fish catches for the last 5 to 6 years indicate an average of about 1 000 to 1 200 t/year, most of it bighead and silver carps. The catches of sturgeon comprise No. more than 3 to 5% of the total catch.

Individual fishermen operate on the Danube River using open-deck fishing boats licensed by the Regional Fisheries Inspectorates. About 1 700 licences are issued on average each year. The licences for using hooks do not exceed 7% on average.

The average catch for one fisherman is approximately 500 kg/year. Fishermen use mostly net fishing gear, including gill nets, and hooks (long-lines) for catching Beluga sturgeon (Huso huso).

In the 1990s, the Danube Fisheries Commission could not function efficiently. For ten years, during the war in Yugoslavia, it was in a state of suspension. Since April 2000, the Commission has been chaired by Bulgaria, but staff changes in the country do not allow effective chairmanship.

The Bulgarian and Romanian fisheries and environmental authorities continue bilateral exchanges related to management arrangements regarding common stock. In 2001, the close season for sturgeon was agreed for 1 April to 20 May in the river, and from 15 February in the Danube Delta.

In Bulgaria, the Ministry of Environment and Waters (MOEW) applies CITES decisions related to sturgeon fishing and trade. Since 1999, for every 1 kg of caviar to be exported, at least 30 juvenile sturgeon should be released into the Danube River (MOEW Order RD-94/14.03.1999).

In 1999, the Bulgarian Danube stretch was restocked with 26 700 juvenile sturgeon and 116 000 juvenile carp. In 2000, carp restocking in the Danube (Bulgarian stretch) was significantly increased.

FRESHWATER FISH CULTURE ON FISH FARMS AND IN RESERVOIRS

In Bulgaria today there are 18 carp and 14 trout farms in operation. They breed fish and raise fish to marketable size.  In 2000, production from specialized fish farms, reservoirs and inland waters of the country fell to one-third compared to 1999.

1999 appears to have been the best production year in the period 1998 to 2000. In 1999, carp production reaches 7 230 t, double that of 1998. One reason for this was the stimulus to production resulting from EC Decision No. 488/05.07.1999, which included Bulgaria in the list of countries allowed to export fish and fishery products to EU countries. Another reason for production augmentation was increased domestic demand.

However, on 21 December 1999, the EC prohibited imports of fish and fishery products from Bulgaria. The prohibition led to reduction of fish farm production in 2000. Salmonid production fell to one-tenth that of the previous years. High production costs (expensive feed, medicines, energy, etc.) make trout prices higher than those of other farmed fish species. Salmonid eggs are often imported, and this also increases the market price. Though trout is a valuable fish, it is not easy marketable. The limited foreign markets also aggravate the problems of salmonid culture in Bulgaria.

The present total fish farm production is probably about one-fifth of the potential capacity of the available facilities. During the process of privatization, a lot of unskilled new owners entered the subsector. Though having good facilities and potential, their lack of competence and limited cash resources led to a number of well functioning fish farms becoming bankrupt.

Fingerling production

Total fingerling production in 2000 (larvae, 0+ and 1+) was 590 million, about one-third of the previous year’s production (Table 6). The EU fish export prohibition and the limited local demand explain the general reduction in production. Most farmers stopped growing exotic species and tried to respond to domestic needs. Fingerling production of a few species was reduced, but augmented for others. Thus, in 2000, fingerlings of rainbow trout increased several fold compared to 1999. The lower prices of domestically bred trout fingerlings led to better demand on the national market.

The lower domestic demand in 1999 for carp larvae and age 0+ led to an eight-fold increase in carp age 1+ production in 2000.

Fingerling production of all other species had a significant reduction in 2000.

The farmers’ option of selling fish and fish products on EU markets stimulated them to produce more fingerlings. The EU prohibition on imports of Bulgarian fish (December 1999) limited marketing of the fingerlings produced and most farmers were unable to get back their capital. Thus many farms ceased fingerling production and in 2001 the lack of fingerlings to stock inland waters was clearly felt.

In Bolyarzi Village, a specialized sturgeon farm, Esetra Commerce, was established. The farm supplies fingerlings for restocking the Danube River (Bulgarian stretch). In 2000, the Bulgarian stretch was re-stocked with 75 000 sturgeon fingerlings.

Warm water culture

This is mostly common carp (Cyprinus carpio), with grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idellus), silver carp (Hypohthalmichthys molitrix) and bighead carp (Hypohthalmichthys nobilis). Wels catfish (Silurus glanis), channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus), pike (Esox lucius), pike-perch (Stizostedion lucioperca) and sturgeon are also cultivated in lesser quantities, and have potential for production expansion.

It is expected that development of the subsector will be primarily related to farming of more valuable, white meat fish, including sturgeon species, in the Danube River.

Coldwater (salmonid) culture

Species cultivated include salmonids such as rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss), Balkan (river) trout (Salmo trutta m. fario) and brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis), and whitefishes (Coregonus spp.).

The capacity of the available facilities is in the range of 1 000 to 1 400 t (live weight).

Freshwater aquaculture – crayfish, frogs, freshwater prawns, algae, etc.

This category has potential for development in the light of strong market demand, especially for export.

Freshwater fish culture in small and average artifical lakes (up to 200 ha)

There are some 300 state-owned artifical lakes or reservoirs of 200 ha each, and municipally-owned lakes (2 000 with an individual area more of than 10 ha, and a few thousand lakes with an individual area of less than 10 ha).

There are several technical options for exploiting such lake resources.

  • Small lakes of local significance (area 0.5 to 10 ha) are numerous, especially in mountainous areas, could be used for family farm intensive fish culture and production, potentially producing 2 500 kg/ha/year.

  • Average-sized lakes (area 10 to 50 ha) are suitable for less intensive fish culture integrated with raising and catching of crayfish, frogs or waterfowl and operated on a family farm basis in combination with plant and animal production. Natural productivity could reach 500-600 kg/ha/year, in addition to any intensive production that could reach 2 500 kg/ha/year.

  • Reservoirs (with an area of 50-200 ha) are suitable for semi-intensive fish culture, with re‑stocking of aquatic species able to support commercial fishing.  There is also potential for crayfish culture. Natural productivity is in the range of 300 to 400 kg/ha/year, in addition to any intensive production at up to 1 500 kg/ha/year. In addition, most of such artifical water bodies are suitable for fishing or ecotourism.

Fish culture and commercial fishing in artificial lakes (areas greater than 200 ha)

These lakes are significant energy and irrigation sources, and their integrated utilization is supposed to include fish production. After fish re-stocking and enhancing fish productivity, they could be used for commercial fishing and fishing tourism.

In practice, the commonest use of such lakes is for drinking water and integration of fishing still needs harmonization. There would also need to be support for the fisheries activities on the part of the National Energy Company Ltd.

legislation is pending to harmonize and to support directly or indirectly fish production in all inland water bodies of Bulgaria. Guarantees should be available for minimum usage periods of water bodies for fish production purposes. Individuals and companies should have long-term incentives for investment for enrichment and protection of the fisheries resources, development of production and other infrastructure related to fish production.

MANAGEMENT OF MARINE FISHERIES RESOURCES

In compliance with FAA provisions and the Waters Act (1999), commercial and recreational fishing covers the Bulgarian zone along the Danube, on-shore sea water areas, the territorial sea waters and the Black Sea EEZ, as well as the Danube riverine areas, coastal lakes and marshland..

The Bulgarian fishery industry is still growing and with potential for development. There are environmental problems to be dealt with to provide clean national fisheries waters. The Danube River and the Black Sea are parts of a large international basin. Note that the catchment area of the Black Sea has an area five times the area of the sea itself.  Therefore, fisheries and integrated aquatic management of national waters should continue to be carried out in a wider international context, with effective involvement of the riparian Danube countries which are the initial polluting sources for both the river and the Black Sea.

An Agreement on fishing in the Black Sea was signed in Varna in 1959, between the Government of the People’s Republic of Bulgaria, the Government of the Socialist Republic of Romania and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and came into force in March 1960. The agreement was ratified by Bulgaria with Government Decree No. 546, 12.12.1959, and published in State Gazette No.101/1959.

The text of the Agreement, published in State Gazette No. 33/1960, concerns solely fishing activities outside the territorial zones of the contracting parties. There are No. specific fishing rights (quotas) associated with this agreement.

The last session of the Committee for implementation of the agreement took place in 1993. During the session, it was decided to establish a working group to prepare a proposal for a new Convention on fishing and conservation of the living resources in the Black Sea. Work on the proposal for the new Convention started in 1995, and is still in process. At the last meeting of the working group of experts, in September 2000 in Instanbul, an agreement in principle was reached to adopt and apply the new Convention under the authority of the Organization for Economic Cooperation in the Black Sea Area. The Convention will be open for joining by all countries that are members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation in the Black Sea Area.

The draft Convention stipulates the introduction of a TAC and national quotas for the catch of the most important fish species, especially migratory ones, which must be subject to international measures for conservation and control, as well as to a specific regime for resource exploitation. The draft Convention provisions relate to fishing activities in territorial and inland waters of the contracting parties, as well as to open-sea fishing.

There is hope that the recently announced United nations/World bank US$ 100 million fund to fight environmental degradation in the Black Sea and Danube Rivers areas will help incorporate, restore and rehabilitate the living aquatic resources of the basin.

Legal framework

In the first half of the twentieth century, three fisheries acts were passed (1905, 1922 and 1936). They reflected the realities of Bulgaria at those times. The fisheries acts tried to address the needs of all national stakeholders and follow sectoral (including environmental) development tendencies in Europe.

During the communist regime, fisheries management in Bulgaria was in compliance with the Fish Husbandry Act (promulgated SG No. 91/19.11.1982; amended SG No. 13/1997; SG No. 11/29.01.1998). Since its entry into force on 1 January 1983 it has been enforced without elaboration of Rules for its implementation (as foreseen in Final Provision, §1).

At that time there was No. private property and so the state was controlling itself (the State Fisheries Inspectorate was controlling the activities of the statal fisheries enterprises).

The Fisheries and Aquaculture Act (promulgated SG No. 41/20.04.2001) (FAA) shall provide “for all relationships having to do with the organization, management, conservation, safety and use of the fish resources to be found in the waters of the Republic of Bulgaria, as well as with trade in fish and other aquatics.”

In Article 1, FAA introduces the principles of responsible fisheries. It also stipulates (§12 (1) and (2)) that :

  • Fishing shall be carried out in a manner that does not hamper the natural reproduction of fish resources and their migration patterns or jeopardize the sustainable development of fish stocks, but favours their conservation and biodiversity protection.

  • Fishing in the fishery sites that fall within the bounds of protected areas under the Protected Areas Act shall be carried out in accordance with the area-specific development plan and procedures related thereto.

To be certain that fisheries activities will be carried out by qualified individuals, it is provided that commercial fishing licences shall be only issued to persons having the relevant qualification certificate issued by EAFA. The qualification certificate shall be awarded after the conclusion of a training course or passing of an exam conducted in compliance with the terms and conditions set out by ordinance of the Agricultural Minister. Commercial fishing licences may be granted to a legal entity that possesses or uses a fishing boat, provided a member of the crew has the necessary qualification certificate. No. certificates shall be required for persons who have graduated from special technical colleges or have a university degree in fisheries or aquaculture and are thus qualified to carry out fishing.

In the 1990s, secondary fisheries legislation was promoted and elaborated.

Ordinance of Ministry of Agriculture, Forests and Agrarian Reform (MAFAR)/Ministry of Environment and Waters (MOEW)/Union of Hunters and Recreational Fishermen (SG No. 47/1998; MAFAR & MOEW Ordinance RD-09-568 (SG No. 36/1999) concerning the regime for fishing have a number of articles of special application to sustainable fisheries and conservation issues.

An annual prohibition for fishing of undersized fish is proclaimed. Undersized fish should be released back into the water No. matter in what condition the specimen is (Article 2 (2), Decree No. 265/1998 of Council of Ministers, concerning the size of indemnities for damages caused to fisheries, SG No. 145/1998).

Ordinance of MAFAR/MOEW/Union of Hunters and Recreational Fishermen (SG No. 47/1998), and MAFAR & MOE Ordinance RD-09-568 (SG No. 36/1999) define the regime for fishing in Bulgaria. The latter Ordinance has an Annex on the minimum size of the species under the restricted fishing regime:

“The undersized fish and other aquatic animals species listed in the above-mentioned Annex should not be caught, transported, sold or bought throughout the year” (Article 15.1 of MAFAR/MOEW Order RD-09-568/1999).

The prohibition was reflected into Article 38 of FAA (2001).

Article 15.4 of the same Ordinance states that the undersized fish and other aquatic animals obtain the status of protected species.

The implementation of Article 15.1 above is carried out by EAFA, National Forestry Department, National Veterinary Medical Service, State Veterinary Control (SVC) (MAFAR); the institutions of the Ministry of the Interior; National Agency for Protection of Nature and Regional Environmental Inspectorates; the control authorities to the Mayor (Article 15.3).

Ordinance No. 14, SG No. 50/05.05.1998 about the terms and conditions for state funding of activities on “establishment, conservation, protection, cultivation, recruitment and reproduction the genetic pool of fish and other aquatic organisms.” The Ordinance postulates also the terms and procedures for approval of establishments for selection, reproduction, etc., related to establishment, protection, cultivation and reproduction of parent stock.

Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora

The National Assembly ratified the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) on 12 December 1990, effective April 1991 (published SG, No. 6, 1991). Because international instruments are “self-executing” under the Bulgarian Constitution, species listed on CITES appendixes receive legal protection in Bulgaria. The implementing legislation is to provide for penalties for violations and other necessary measures, mostly related to conservation of biological diversity.

Bulgaria has designated the MOEW as the CITES Management Authority. The Government has also designated the Institute of Zoology (Bulgarian Academy of Sciences) to provide assistance with regard to animal species listed in the Red Book (1985) of Bulgaria.

Referring to the Red Data Book (1985), the sturgeon species included there as endangered are Acipenser sturio and Acipenser nudiventris. Huso huso, Acipenser gueldenstaedti, Acipenser spellatus and Acipenser ruthenus are not included.

In the Red Data Book (1985), a ban for fishing of Acipenser nudiventris is prescribed (single specimen caught in the country). Acipenser sturio is considered as extinct since 1963.

All of the species mentioned above (except Acipenser ruthenus) are included as endangered in the IUCN (1996) Red List of Threatened Animals. Acipenser sturio is classsed as critically endangered.

Convention on Biological Diversity

The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) was ratified by Bulgaria and came in force for the country in 1996. There are several MOEW units involved in CBD implementation as far as it refers to living aquatic resources diversity. These are the National Nature Protection Service, Aquatic Resources and Water Quality Department and 15 Regional Inspectorates on Environment and Waters (RIEW).

Management measures

Various management strategies have been formulated to control fishing effort and promote rehabilitation and conservation of aquatic resources and ecosystems. These measures include:

  • Direct limitation of fishing effort through licensing of fishing gear and fishing vessels. Licences are valid from 1 April to 31 March (a fiscal year).

  • Close seasons to ensure reproduction and survival of juveniles of commercially important fish species (See Table 7).
  • Enforcement of fishing activities in Bulgaria’s jurisdictional waters is carried out by EAFA and the National Forestry Directorate.

  • Rehabilitation of resources through the establishment of artificial reefs (outside mussel installations) are pending on the Bulgarian Black Sea shelf.

  • Restocking of the Danube and the inland water bodies with sturgeon and cyprinid juveniles has been developing since 1998.

Management measures that have been implemented through the legal and institutional framework to control fishing effort include:

  • Direct limitation of fishing effort. Licences are renewed for only one fiscal year (1 April - 31 March).

  • Controls on size and power of fishing vessels. Through the implementation of FAA (2001), the EU-supported Fishing Vessel Register Data (FVRD) project and through development of a fishing vessel management scheme, controls on size and power of fishing vessels will fully correspond to those of the EU CFP.

  • Registration of fishers. This programme controls entry of new individuals into the fishing industry. Every fisher is required to be registered and anybody working, living or staying on a fishing vessel must have a fisher’s registration card.

Efforts and measures undertaken to conserve and rehabilitate the fisheries resources and aquatic ecosystems include:

  • Closed fishing areas. These are indirectly applied through close seasons and prohibition of bottom trawling and dredging.

  • Management zones. Two fishing zones have been established through a licensing scheme. The two management zones attempt to provide equitable allocation of resources and reduce conflict between traditional and commercial fishermen. Basically, the two zones are:

Fishing Zone 1, from shoreline out to 3 nautical miles.

Fishing Zone 2, from the outer limit of the first fishing zone to the EEZ limit.

Conservation and rehabilitation of resources

Conservation and rehabilitation of aquatic resources in a country like Bulgaria at the moment must be regarded in the context of sustainable use, applying equally to the Danube riparian countries and to the Black Sea as most valuable fisheries resources of the basin are migratory or demersal fish, or valuable bottom shellfish.

In this context, pollution remains a very important issue as it reflects international anthropogenic sources from all Europe.

Relevant FAA (2001) Articles are §42, §043 and §44:

  • §42 – Crayfish catching shall be prohibited.

  • §43 (1) – Sea mammal fishing shall be prohibited.

  • §43 (2) – In the event of by-catch of sea mammals, they shall be immediately released and returned to the sea regardless of their condition.

  • §44 – Where the populations of certain fish and other aquatic species have been endangered by overfishing, the Environment Minister shall declare them protected. The protected species shall not be allowed for fishing until their populations are restored.

Prohibition of fishing gear

Under FAA (2001), fishing gear that is destructive to the environment and fisheries resources is banned. Banned gear includes explosives; poisons and narcotics; electrical fishing; bottom trawls; dredges; firearms; and harpoons (prohibited solely in freshwater basins).

Input controls

Fishing effort in the Bulgarian fishing industry is controlled by the licensing and registration system to control fishing vessels and fishing gear under the current FAA (2001).

EAFA shall establish and maintain the following registers:

Ø         fishing licences issued;

Ø         angling permits issued; and

Ø         producers of fish and other aquatic organisms.

The Executive Maritime Administration Agency, under the Minister of Transport and Communications, shall communicate to EAFA register data on fishing vessels as regards their equipment and gear and fishing, processing and storage capacities. EAFA shall incorporate these data in the fisheries statistical information system.

Management plan for fleet capacity

The development and formal approval of a management plan for Bulgarian fleet capacity will be included as a part of the priorities of the first three-year National Programme for Fisheries and Aquaculture, which will be adopted by the Council of Ministers within a year of enforcement of FAA (2001). The management plan will be developed by a Working Group that includes representatives of all interested parties (fishers, environmental organizations, governmental structures), and will comply with the EU requirements for establishment of a balance between biological, social and economic aspects of fisheries. The Plan will be based on a detailed analysis of Bulgarian fishing rights resulting from International Fisheries Agreements and Conventions, the situation of the fish stocks in the Black Sea, and the existing fleet capacity of the country.

Commercial fishing may be carried out by individuals – Bulgarian citizens who have come of age, and legal entities that have been granted a commercial fishing licence.

Foreign fishing vessels shall be allowed to carry out commercial fishing in compliance with the provisions of the Sea Areas, Inland Canals and Ports of the Republic of Bulgaria Act.

Commercial fishing licences shall be issued by the CEO of EAFA or the heads of the EAFA regional offices in compliance with the provisions laid down by ordinance of the Minister for Agriculture and Forestry. Applicants for a fishing licence may be users of fishing vessels acting on their own behalf, whether owners of the vessels or users of the boats under some other legal terms and conditions. In carrying out commercial fishing, the licences must be kept on board fishing vessels. Where commercial fishing is carried out at a specialized fishery site, the licence shall be granted to the user of the site.

The commercial fishing licence shall clearly state the following:

             (i)          The issuing authority.

           (ii)          Data concerning the identification of the fishing vessel.

          (iii)          Data about the licence holder.

         (iv)          Technical data about the fishing vessel.

           (v)          Registration number of the nationality act and sailing permit.

         (vi)          Date of issuing and term of validity of the licence.

        (vii)          The water area or parts thereof intended for commercial fishing.

      (viii)          Other data.

Commercial fishing licences may be renewed for the following calendar year by the EAFA or its regional offices by a re-certification procedure.

Where commercial fishing is carried out on board fishing vessels, data about fishing licences shall be forwarded to the Executive Maritime Administration Agency within one week of their issuing.

Log-books shall be maintained in carrying out commercial fishing.

Log-books shall be issued by EAFA. The sample format and procedures for log-book keeping shall be provided by ordinance of the Minister for Agriculture and Forestry.

The log-book shall contain data as to fish catches by species and quantities, as follows:

  • Turbot – data on the number and size categories in kg.

  • Sturgeon species – data by species, weight and individual size.

  • For remaining fish and other aquatic species – data by species and quantities in kg, including allowable by-catch amounts.

The Agriculture Minister may specify other fish species about which data shall be reported by size categories or individual fish size.

Masters of fishing vessels longer than 15 m shall be required to record in the vessel’s log-book information as to the weather conditions, area coordinates and places where fishing takes.

In case of open-sea transshipments of catch, masters of vessels longer than 15 m shall be required to report detailed data on the place of transshipment, receiving vessel and port destination.

The log-book must be submitted to the regulatory authorities at their request.

Upon unloading the catch amounts, the persons who have performed commercial fishing shall fill in a declaration of origin according to the sample and then submit it to EAFA officers. The declaration of origin shall contain information about the place of catching and catch amounts by species.

Trap net installations and beach seining sites (riverside and seashore) shall be public ownership and allocated to concessions under the provisions of the Concessions Act.

The location and zone of operation of the specialized commercial fishing sites in the Black Sea as well as their main technical parameters shall be defined by way of an ordinance of the EAFA CEO in coordination with the heads of the regional offices of the Executive Maritime Administration Agency and naval stations and bases of the Bulgarian Army.

Following the commencement of operation in specialized sites, fishing in the zone of operation stated shall be prohibited. Where such installations and facilities have not been put in place and such sites have not operated in the fishing season stated in the licence, the EAFA CEO shall authorize free fishing in the relevant zone of operation.

Any change in the parameters of the sites (installations) including the point of fixing and direction of the trap nets, elongation or extension of the leader, expansion of the zone of action or activity throughout the year (seasonal pattern) shall be only authorized in writing by the CEO of EAFA, with the changes being accurately recorded in the relevant registers.

The CEO of EAFA may authorize, in compliance with the terms and conditions set out by the Council of Ministers, the opening of new experimental trap net installations or other specialized fishery sites in the water system of the Black Sea, following the approval of the CEO of the Executive Maritime Administration Agency and the chief commanders of the naval stations and bases of the Bulgarian army.

Output control

At present no Individual Transferable Quota (ITQs) apply in Bulgarian fisheries. TAC is applied for turbot and caviar (sturgeon) export.

FAA introduces control requirements in accordance with EU Regulation 2847/93 concerning landing declarations and first sales notes. All fishermen are obliged to fill in the landing declarations with information concerning the quantities caught and the fishing zones. The FAA also stipulates that a copy of the landing declaration must be submitted to the regional offices of EAFA for the purpose of collection of operational catch information. Secondary legislation (an ordinance) to the FAA will fully transpose the EU requirements concerning landing declarations by the end of 2001.

The implementation of the EU requirements concerning landing declarations will be the responsibility of EAFA. Staff will be appointed to collect and process operational information received from landing declarations and other sources (sales notes, log-books, statistical surveys, etc.) by the end of 2002.

Surveillance efforts on fishing activities

Enforcement of fishing activities in Bulgaria is carried out by EAFA, under MAFAR. Biodiversity control on aquatic resources is the responsibility of MOEW.

Fishing may be carried out by individuals – Bulgarian citizens who have come of age, and legal entities that have been granted a commercial fishing licence.

Foreign fishing vessels shall be allowed to carry out commercial fishing in compliance with the provisions of the Sea Areas, Inland Canals and Ports of the Republic of Bulgaria Act.

Commercial fishing licences shall be issued by the CEO of EAFA or the heads of the EAFA regional offices in compliance with the provisions laid down by ordinance of the Minister for Agriculture and Forestry.

Applicants for fishing licences may be users of fishing vessels acting on their own behalf, whether owners of the vessels or users of the boats under some other legal terms and conditions. For any fishing licence issued under Para. 1, EAFA shall apply a fee at a rate set by the Council of Ministers. In carrying out commercial fishing, the licences must be kept on board fishing vessels. At specialized fishery sites, the licence shall be granted to the user of the site.

The commercial fishing licence shall clearly state as follows: the issuing authority; data about the identification of the fishing vessel; data about the licence holder; technical data about the fishing vessels; registration number of the nationality act and sailing permit; date of issuing and term of validity of the licence; and the water areas or parts thereof intended for commercial fishing.

Commercial fishing licences may be renewed for the following calendar year by EAFA or its regional offices by a re-certification procedure.

Where commercial fishing is carried out on board fishing vessels, data about fishing licences shall be forwarded to the Executive Maritime Administration Agency within one week of their issuing. Commercial fishing must be carried out in the presence of a person meeting the requirements for qualification under FAA.

Log-books shall be issued by the EAFA and be maintained when carrying out commercial fishing. The sample format and procedures for log-book keeping shall be provided by ordinance of the Minister for Agriculture and Forestry.

The log-book shall contain data as to fish catches by species and quantities, as follows:

  • Turbot – data on the number and size categories in kg.

  • Sturgeon species – data by species, weight and individual size.

  • For remaining fish and other aquatic species – data by species and quantities in kg, including allowable by-catch amounts.

The Agriculture Minister may specify other fish species about which data shall be reported by size categories or individual fish size.

Masters of fishing vessels longer than 15 m shall be required to record in the vessel’s log-book information as to the weather conditions, area coordinates and places where fishing takes place.

In cases of open-sea transshipments of catch amounts or parts thereof, the masters of vessels longer than 15 m shall also report detailed data on the place of transshipment, receiving vessel and port of destination.

The log-book must be submitted to the regulatory authorities at their request.

Upon unloading the catch amounts, the persons who have performed commercial fishing shall fill in a declaration of origin according to the sample form and then submit it to EAFA officers. The declaration of origin shall contain information about the place of catching and catch amounts by species.

Trap net installations and beach seining sites (riverside and seashore) shall be public ownership and allocated to concessions under the provisions of the Concessions Act.

The location and zone of operation of specialized commercial fishing sites and areas in the Black Sea as well as their main technical parameters shall be defined by an ordinance of EAFA CEO coordinated with the heads of the regional offices of the Executive Maritime Administration Agency and naval stations and bases of the Bulgarian Army.

Following commencement of fisheries operation on specialized sites and places, fishing in the zone of operation stated shall be prohibited. Where such installations and facilities have not been put in place and such sites have not operated in the fishing season stated in the licence, EAFA CEO shall authorize free fishing in the relevant zone of operation.

Any change in the parameters of the sites (installations) including the point of fixing and direction of the trap nets, elongation or extension of the leader, expansion of the zone of action or activity throughout the year (seasonal pattern) shall be only authorized in writing by the CEO of EAFA in compliance with Para. 2, with the changes being accurately recorded in the relevant registers.

The CEO of EAFA may authorize, in compliance with the terms and conditions set out by the Council of Ministers, the opening of new experimental trap net installations or other specialized fishery sites in the water system of the Black Sea, following the approval of the CEO of the Executive Maritime Administration Agency and the chief commanders of the naval stations and bases of the Bulgarian army.

Control

Control on the use, safety and conservation of fish resources shall be exercised by EAFA through its fishery inspection officers and the National Forestry Department.

Fishery inspection officers shall exercise control as follows:

  • the status and maintenance of the fish and other aquatic gene pool;

  • production, transportation of and stocking with genetic material;

  • fishing licences and angling permits;

  • fishing gear and tackle and auxiliary installations and material;

  • compliance with the terms and conditions of using fish resources; and

  • trade in fish, other aquatic organisms and products as regards their origin and the rules of first marketing.

The control exercised by fishery inspection officers shall be carried out on the basis of checks and inspections of fishing vessels and vehicles, storehouses and buildings, cooling facilities and equipment.

Where the regulatory authorities carry out off-shore checks and inspections of fishing vessels in the water system of the Black Sea, they shall not have the right to require the immobilization of a vessel when the fishing gear is in a running condition. Checks and inspections shall take place on board vessels or following the end of a technical operation. The masters of fishing vessels must inform the regulatory authorities of the time a technical operation is about to end without undertaking any action to change the technical regime of the fishing operation, including the detachment of trawling gear and equipment.

The vessels and vehicles of EAFA provided for by this act for carrying out checks shall be designated and bear the insignia of the Agency.

The operational catch data will be processed and stored in computerized form in the National Information and Fisheries Statistics System (NIFSS) and will be used for monitoring purposes. The NIFSS will provide for cross checking of the information on fishing activities, and for detection of infringements of the fishing regime. The information system should be fully operational by the end of 2003.

PROJECTION OF FISH SUPPLY

According to FAA §4, the Council of Ministers shall, at the proposal of the Minister for Agriculture and Forestry, the Minister for Transport and Communications and the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, adopt a National Fisheries and Aquaculture Programme. The Council of Ministers will adopt the first three-year National Programme for Fisheries and Aquaculture within a year of the enforcement of FAA. The purpose of the programme will be to identify national priorities in the fisheries sector, and to contribute to the establishment of a balance between biological, social and economic aspects of fisheries.

The National Fisheries and Aquaculture Programme shall include:

  • an analysis of the current state, performance and trends of the fishery and aquaculture sector, production, level of technologies, marketing, assessments of product quality, consumption and demand, as well as of other indicators in the sector;

  • measures aimed at conserving biodiversity of aquatic ecosystems and promoting the sustainable development of the fish resources therein;

  • support and assistance to fisheries and aquaculture by:

    1. technical and technological renovation and equipment;

    2.
    implementation of short- and long-term projects in the area of fisheries and aquaculture;

    3.
    re-structuring and modernization of the fishing fleet and of port fishing and fishery facilities;

    4.
      organization of the market for fish and other fishery products;

    5.
    drafting and implementation of research programmes and projects;

    6.
    funding the measures under the programme fostering the development of the sector; and

    7.
    monitoring, evaluation and control of programme implementation.
        
The measures under the programme shall be funded as follows:
  • government budget allocations; and

  • target investments made by local and foreign investors or international organizations or aid extensions under EU programmes.

The Agriculture Minister, together with the Minister for Transport and Communications and the Environment Minister shall manage and monitor the implementation of the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Programme.

Increased fisheries production and export, and reduced import, are envisaged.

TRADE

Exports increased in the period 1998 – 2000. It is expected that exports of fish and fish products will be increased by 10% compared to 2000 and reach 3 400 t. Also, catch increases are also expected. As soon as fish and fisheries exports to the EU are renewed, there should be positive impcat for Bulgarian fisheries producers as export prices are higher than domestic ones. About 50% of Bulgarian fisheries export are molluscs. In 1998, 1 019 t were exported, mostly to France (131 t), Japan (388 t) and Turkey (188 t).  Exports have risen steadily (2 037 t in 1998; 2 697 t in 1999; 3 111 t in 2000; and 3 400 t forecast for 2001).  Imports have steadily decreased (19 199 t in 1998; 17 916 t in 1999; 18 856 in 2000; and 16 000 t forecast for 2001).  About 90% of imported seafood is frozen, and comes from Ireland, Norway, Mauritania and the United Kingdom.  In 2000, the share of delicatessen import items increased due to increased local demand on behalf of some Bulgarian and foreign (tourist) customers.

First sales of fish and other aquatic organisms shall be carried out at assembly markets registered under the Commodity Exchanges and Wholesale Markets Act, as well as at collection centres and points or retail establishments meeting the requirements under the Veterinary Act.

In carrying out first sales, sellers and attorneys at the markets shall fill in sales notes as provided for by the Commodity Exchanges and Wholesale Markets Act.

In delivering fish and other aquatics that have not undergone first marketing as raw material for the processing industry, the supplier must submit to the buyer a copy of the declaration of origin. Where raw materials have been imported or produced by fish farmers, the supplier shall be required to submit a veterinary certificate.

In case of first sales, the seller shall submit to the buyer copies of the declaration of origin as well as a veterinary certificate. In case of first sales of fish and other aquatics imported or produced by fish farmers, the seller shall be required to submit a veterinary certificate.

A veterinary certificate shall be submitted for the final product subject to first sales.

Copies of the declaration of origin, together with the veterinary certificate shall be submitted to the competent authorities upon inspection and at the request of consumers.

Deliveries of fish and other aquatics for human consumption in catering establishments shall be prohibited if not accompanied by a veterinary certificate and a copy of the declaration of origin in case of fresh fish deliveries as a result of commercial fishing.

The transportation of fish and other aquatic products shall be carried out by specialized vehicles meeting specific veterinary and hygiene requirements and consignments must be accompanied by a copy of the declaration of origin or a veterinary certificate as appropriate.

Genetic material of fish and other aquatics may as well be sold outside the market places. In case of genetic material sales, the seller shall be required to submit to the buyer a veterinary health certificate, together with a genetic certificate issued by the accredited laboratories performing genetic analysis of fish and other aquatic species. Where the genetic material sold is used for stocking purposes, a stocking report shall be made according to the sample format provided.

Implementation of the common marketing standards

The Council of Ministers is the responsible institution in the Republic of Bulgaria that adopts legislative acts concerning marketing standards of various products, including fish and fishery products, in particular marketing standards concerning content, main characteristics and name of foodstuffs, as well as labelling, packaging and promotion.

The Bulgarian legislation concerning marketing standards for fish and fishery products will be fully harmonized with EU Regulation 104/2000 by the end of 2004.

The administrative institutions responsible for implementation of the marketing standards for fish and fishery products are the National Veterinary Service (NVS)/State Veterinary Control (SVC) and NAFA.

According to the Veterinary Act, the SVC is responsible for control over the quality, packing and labelling of products of animal origin, including fish and fishery products. The control activities are performed by inspectors of SVC national and regional offices, and include on-site checks of trading and storage sites. The inspectors are also responsible for controlling compliance with the marketing standards of the future wholesale markets for fish and fishery products.

SUPPLY AND DEMAND FOR FISHERY PRODUCTS

Bulgaria is one of the least fish consuming countries, with a nominal per capita consumption of 3.0 to 3.5 kg.  The figure does not include consumption in canteens, restaurants, hospitals.

The low fish consumption reflects the low purchasing power of the population and the increased prices of fish and fish products.

Future domestic fish demand will depend on general socio-economic development of the country. The expansion of the tourism industry will certainly stimulate increased fish demand. EU countries demand will certainly promote development of the fisheries sector.

In the light of the above, increased fish production, export, local demand and consumption are expected.

NATIONAL AND SUB-NATIONAL FISHERIES INSTITUTIONS

The Ministry responsible for development of the livestock, forestry and fisheries sector of the country is the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, one of the 11 Ministries under the Office of the Prime Minister.

Management in the area of fisheries and aquaculture is carried out by the Executive Agency for Fisheries and Aquaculture (EAFA), reporting to the Minister for Agriculture and Forestry. EAFA is a legal entity, funded by government budget allocations, with a Sofia-based head office, supported by regional units. The activities and structure of EAFA are laid down by procedural rules adopted by the Council of Ministers.

NAFA staffing levels have been changing:

  • At the end of 2000 there were a total of 48 (Central management – 15; Regional offices – 33).

  • In early 2001, the total became 160 (Central management – 22; Regional offices – 138) as a result of Council of Ministers Decree No. 270, 15 December 2000, increasing NAFA’s staff from 48 to 160, with effect from 1 January 2001. The process of recruitment of staff was continuing, but expected to be complete by the end of June 2001).

  • By the end of 2001 the total staff was expected to be 210 (Central management – 31; Regional Offices – 179, with Regional Office staffing levels varying between 5 and 8 depending local requirements and workload.

Basic functions of NAFA

Fisheries and Aquaculture Directorate

The Fisheries and Aquaculture Directorate is responsible for implementation of the harmonized fisheries legislation. It performs activities concerning the conservation and reproduction of fishery resources, control of implementation of established fishing activities in inland waters, the Bulgarian coastal zone in the Black Sea, and the Danube river (control of fishing activities, issuing of fishing licences, maintaining the fishing vessels register, collecting and processing of fisheries statistics, etc.), participates in activities of international fisheries organizations, and related tasks.

Administrative and Financial Directorate

The Directorate is responsible for all administrative and financial issues related to the proper functioning of NAFA as a separate legal entity of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.

Regional offices

The 27 regional offices are responsible for implementing fisheries legislation at a regional level, and are primarily involved in control and monitoring activities.

The organizational structure of EAFA is shown below.

The EAFA (NAFA) is a legal entity, funded by government budget allocations, with a Sofia-based Head Office, supported by regional units.  Its activity and structure is laid down by Procedural Rules adopted by the Council of Ministers.

EAFA shall be responsible for:

  • implementation of the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Programme, together with the Executive Maritime Administration Agency under the Minister of Transport and Communications;

  • conservation and protection of the national fishery resources and control of compliance with the fishing rules and fisheries practices established and recognized;

  • issuing commercial fishing licences and registration of the entities and individuals involved in fishing and aquaculture;

  • establishment and maintenance of a sector-wide system of statistical information on fisheries and aquaculture; and

  • other functions assigned and provided for by law.

Basic functions of EAFA

Fisheries and Aquaculture Directorate

The Fisheries and Aquaculture Directorate is responsible for implementation of the harmonized fisheries legislation. It performs activities concerning the conservation and reproduction of fishery resources, control of the implementation of the established fishing activities regimes in the inland water basins, the Bulgarian coastal zone in the Black Sea and the Danube river (control on fishing activities, issuing of fishing licences, participation in the maintenance of the fishing vessels register, collection and processing of fisheries statistics, etc.), participation in the activities of international fisheries organizations, etc.

Administrative and Financial Directorate

The Directorate is responsible for all administrative and financial issues related to the proper functioning of EAFA as a separate legal entity of MAFAR.

Regional offices

The 27 regional offices are responsible for implementing at a regional level the fisheries legislation, and are primarily involved in control and monitoring activities.

The Executive Agency for Fisheries and Aquaculture and the Executive Maritime Administration Agency shall be required to conclude a contract providing for their joint responsibility as regards to the registration and control of fishing vessels.

The National Department of Forestry, under MAFAR, shall be responsible for the safety and control of fish resources in inland water areas and sites used for the purposes of angling, under the supervision of its regional offices and units, in compliance with the provisions of FAA and the Forestry Act.

The National Department of Forestry shall issue angling permits in compliance with the terms and conditions laid down by an ordinance of the Minister for Agriculture and Forestry.

The Scientific and Technical Fisheries and Aquaculture Council (STFAC) shall be set up as an advisory body reporting to the Agriculture Minister.

The Minister for Agriculture shall Chair STFAC and nominate (according to FAA) its members from among relevant institutions and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) by means of an ordinance, at the proposal of the CEO of EAFA.

STFAC shall:

  • consider and provide opinions and recommendations as to the drafting and implementation of the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Programme, the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, as well as of other sector-related legal measures, documents and programmes;

  • depending on the state of fish and other aquatic stocks, propose measures aimed at their conservation and reproduction;

  • consider and submit for approval TACs for certain fish species and other aquatic organisms, as well as quota allocation patterns; and

  • report on the social and economic implications of all issues on which it has been required to provide opinions, recommendations and advice.

The Agriculture Minister shall approve the Procedural Rules of STFAC.

Control on fish biodiversity protection shall be exercised by the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources and the Minister for Agriculture and Forestry.

Inland water areas and sites may be stocked with indigenous fish species following a STFAC proposal approved by the Environment Minister.

Fisher institutions

Under FAA §10, legal entities and individuals carrying out business activity under the provisions and requirements of the act shall be free to associate into branch organizations that defend and represent the group interests of their members. The legal entities and individuals carrying out business activity under the provisions of the act may establish producer organizations that shall be legal entities – commercial companies or cooperative societies involved in the marketing of and trade in fish and other aquatics produced by their members (Article 10 (2)). Under the terms and conditions set out by an ordinance of the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, the producer organizations may apply for financial assistance from local and EU funds.

Bulgarian Fishing Association - Burgas  and National Fish Producers Association – Sofia

Both of these groups were established in 1998. The first relates related mostly to all aspects of the marine fisheries subsector, and second involves primarily freshwater fish producers. Both of them participated in the elaboration of FAA (2001).

According to FAA (2001), individuals carrying out recreational fishing may associate into local organizations registered under the Non-Profit Organizations Act. The local organizations may associate into regional organizations and a national angler association registered under the Non- Profit Organizations Act, without the right to perform business activity and establish and/or be shareholders in companies.

The recreational fishers and organizations mentioned above may associate with individuals and organizations in accordance with the Game Hunting and Protection Act.

State aid to fisheries

The Republic of Bulgaria declares that all measures for support contradicting the EU acquis will have ceased by the date of accession to the EU.  At present, there are several forms of state aid in the fisheries sector.

According to the Income Tax Act (for taxing the income of natural persons and sole traders), in force since 1 January 1998, the taxable income of people employed in fish-farming is reduced by 60%. Producers of unprocessed freshwater fish are not levied with an income tax.

According to the Corporate Tax Act, in force since 1 January 1998, producers – legal entities involved in the production and sale of unprocessed fish and aquatics from artificial lakes and dams – can retain their profit tax payments. The retained tax payments must be invested in freshwater fish farming activities.

Ordinance No. 14 of 1998 stipulates the conditions and rules for providing funds from the state budget (and other sources) for support of activities related to the creation, conservation, breeding and diversifying the genetic variety of fish and aquaculture. The funds are used for:

  • direct deliveries of genetic material (imported or from internal sources);

  • breeding, reproduction and conservation of genetic resources; and

  • feeding stuffs, medicines and other direct and indirect production expenses connected with the survival, conservation and reproduction of the genetic stock.

Funds from the state budget could be granted as a subsidy or provided as reimbursable loans.

A Central Commission in MAFAR decides on the allocation of funds and monitors grant use. If the funds have been used for an unauthorized purpose, the funds must be reimbursed in full with interest.

At present, granting of state aid is controlled by the Commission for Protection of Competition (CPC).

The Ministry of Finance is another institution that monitors the development of the sector. In 1996, an inventory list (register) was created that includes all the forms of state aid in the sector. The list was updated in 1998 to comply with EU methodology. Since the beginning of 1999, the list has also been recording data for all indirect forms of state aid.

The Republic of Bulgaria, through EAFA, has applied for a two-year Phare project assistance (Financial memorandum 2001) which includes technical assistance (investment component), and institutional building assistance (under a Twinning project). This project will contribute to faster improvement of the NAFA’s capacity to build up control and information systems on fisheries in compliance with the acquis, as well as to the provision of equipment, harmonization of legislation and training of staff for operating the acquis.

It is envisaged that the SAPARD Agency to the State Fund for Agriculture will be transformed into a Paying Agency, and will be responsible for financial management of the Community structural actions in the area of fisheries (the Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance).