Replaces: Chinese version (2012)
The aquaculture sector in Montenegro consists of both freshwater and marine aquaculture. Marine fish farming major products are gilthead seabream (Sparus aurata) and European seabass (Dicentrarchus labrax), while shellfish farming is composed by Mediterranean mussel (Mythilus galoprovincialis) and Europaen flat oyster (Ostrea edulis). Freshwater aquaculture is dominated by farming of rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss), while few farms produce small quantities of sea trout (Salmo trutta), mainly used for restocking of natural habitats. There are 32 freshwater and 17 mariculture farms. During the period of 2010–2013, the average annual production of rainbow trout, European seabass plus gilthead seabream and Mediterranean mussel was 508 tonnes, 113 tonnes and 178 tonnes respectively. The farmed species are sold mostly to small retailers, restaurants, hotels and on the market stalls.
Montenegro exports some quantities of farmed rainbow trout to neighbouring Countries as well as small quantities of Mediterranean mussel to Serbia.
About 150 employees are estimated to be involved in the aquaculture sector. Montenegrin aquaculture is managed by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Directorate for Agriculture and Fisheries, Division for Fisheries.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Montenegro supports scientific research in aquaculture. This is carried out by the Institute for Marine Biology in Kotor. The contribution of the aquaculture in the Montenegrin national economy is insignificant, but there is significant potential for its development. Modernization of the sector, increase and diversification in production, as well as training and education could provide this potential.
The Montenegrin aquaculture sector consists of three sub-sectors: freshwater fish farming (rainbow trout), shellfish farming (Mediterranean mussel and Europaean flat oyster), and marine fish farming (gilthead seabream and European seabass).
There are very favourable conditions for the production of rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) in Montenegro. The first farms were established in the 1950’s, and there are now 29 farms, using raceway production system. There are also three farms which use the cage system of farming and which are located in the lakes Piva, Krupac and the Skadar.
The production of common carp (Cyprinus carpio) started in 1974 with one farm. During its existence it reached a production of about 100 tonnes per year. In 1986 farm was closed due to low investment, technical problems and lack of market outlets. Since then, there has been no carp production in Montenegro. Some interest has recently been shown in the farming of other freshwater species such as Adriatic sturgeon (Acipenser naccarii), Arctic char (Salvelinus alpinus), hybrid “baster” (Acipenser ruthenus and Huso huso), but they were all at the stage of pilot projects and no significant production had been achieved. Some pilot projects have also been carried out in farming certain freshwater species for the purpose of restocking the natural habitats.
The tradition of commercial farming of Mediterranean mussel goes back 30 years, although initial experiments about the possibility of producing edible bivalves (oysters and mussels) began in the 1960s in Boka Kotorska Bay, run by the Institute of Marine Biology in Kotor. However, there are some indications that certain bivalve species were cultivated in this bay a hundred years ago. There are now 17 locations rearing Mediterranean mussel (Mytilus galloprovincialis), all situated in Boka Kotorska Bay, using the longline system of production. The production of oyster (Ostrea edulis) is the most recent branch of the aquaculture sector. Currently three farms are licensed to produce oyster with commercial production of 1.2 tonnes in 2013. The production of European seabass and gilthead seabream began in the late 1990s owned by one private company. Another company established another European seabass and gilthead seabream farm in 2006. All farms use the cage system of production and are situated in Boka Kotorska Bay.
Currently the entire mariculture in Montenegro is concentrated in the area of the Boka Kotorska Bay. As previously mentioned, there are total of 17 farms which are engaged in mussel farming. Three of them dealing with mussel and oyster farming, while two farms implemented the principle of multitrophic integrated mariculture (mussels, oysters, seabass and seabream farming).
In order to expand mariculture in the draft of the Special Purpose Spatial Plan for the Coastal zone of Montenegro, as potential new locations, nine new sites have been included in the open sea. These locations have been proposed and included based on the available data about natural features of the Montenegrin coast, results of experimental surveys, natural resources of juvenile fish species and adult forms of economically important species of marine organisms, and based on the comparison with the quality of the environment in which growing is carried out in the Mediterranean Countries.
The available statistical data on human resources indicates that there are about 100 employees in the rainbow trout sector. There are estimated to be an additional 40 employees in the European seabass/gilthead seabream and Mediterranean mussel/European flat oyster sectors together.
Given the ecology of the rainbow trout as a species, all the farms are established near or on water bodies providing a clear, cold, abundant and constant supply of water. However, some of them have to deal with the problem of insufficient quantities of water due to an out-dated water supply system. They are all situated mostly in the central and northern parts of the Country, near the rivers or on the lakes, but there are no detailed data on the surface engaged. As previously stated, there are 29 farms using concrete raceways (tanks) and three situated on the lakes using a cage system of farming. These are mostly small, family owned farms (or owned by small enterprises), producing 5–20 tonnes per year with the exception of four larger farms which produce 50–130 tonnes per year, and which are run by private companies.
There are two European seabass/gilthead seabream inshore farms owned by two private companies. They are both situated in the Boka Kotorska Bay and their total production in 2013 has been 114 tonnes.
Mediterranean mussel are cultured on 17 small farms, each producing 5 to 30 tonnes per year. These are family run businesses, all located in Boka Kotorska Bay where the oceanographic, physical, chemical and biological conditions are suitable for the type of rearing used on these farms. Basically, it is a longline production system.
The cultured freshwater species are rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) and sea trout (Salmo trutta), while the marine species are: European seabass (Dicentrarchus labrax), gilthead seabream (Sparus aurata), Mediterranean mussel (Mytilus galloprovincialis) and Europaen flat oyster (Ostrea edulis).
The biggest cage farm, also one of the biggest farms in Montenegro, is the one on Lake Piva and produces around 100 – 130 tonnes per year. It is a farm with a full production cycled system with square and round cages bound with an iron/plastic frame used for rearing fish. Hatchery facilities are situated on the nearby river. The other two cage farms are specialized for growing fish to marketable size.
Both European seabass/gilthead seabream farms use cages which are round and made of plastic (flexible). These are small-scale farms which produce 114 tonnes (2013) of both Europaen seabass and gilthead seabream. These are the rearing farms only and the fingerlings are imported.
All 17 Mediterranean mussel farms use the longline production system. The Mediterranean mussel spat is collected from the main ropes where they have been attached and is then placed in plastic nets (using the PVC tubes) to be attached to the ropes (the lower 1.5 m part of the ropes) which are then hung on the horizontal main ropes extended between the plastic buoys. They use no more than 3 m of the water column in costal zones and are settled at a maximum depth of approximately 25 to 35 m (which is average depth of the Boka Kotorska Bay). The growing period is between 15 to 18 months. There is no modern mechanization, and almost all the production cycle is carried out manually.
For the technological processes of controlled oysters breeding floating longlines are used, the same as for mussel farming, equipped with collectors for the reception of young oysters, as well as the nets and/or boxes for the cultivation of oysters. Partly, oysters are cemented, while in the last few years some oysters are farmed in mussel nets.
In the period 2010–2013 the apparent consumption of aquatic products was 19 575 tonnes with a yearly average of 4 894 tonnes implying average per capita consumption of about 7.90 kg. A more realistic estimate of national per capita consumption should take into account all sources of supply and demand from tourists.
In 2013 total imports of aquatic products in Montenegro were 3 171 tonnes. Almost 36 percent of the imports were processed fish and other aquatic organisms, 18.1 percent were molluscs, 12.7 percent were fresh and live fish, 22.3 percent were frozen fish and 10.1 percent were fish fillets. In the same period Montenegro exported only 4.6 tonnes, mostly fresh and frozen fish and molluscs.
In the period 2010-2013 Montenegro exports small quantities of aquaculture products: trout, mussels, seabass and seabream (the quantities are not estimated). The data points to a high consumer preference for whole fresh fish. The processed fish is used preferably as frozen and filleted. Other processed fish consumed are smoked, dried, canned etc.
In the period 2007-2010 the average prices of farmed rainbow trout, European seabass/gilthead seabream and Mediterranean mussel were EUR 3.9/kg, EUR 7.2/kg, and EUR 1.5/kg respectively. In the same period, all farmed species are sold mostly to small retailers, restaurants, hotels and at public market places.
The contribution of the aquaculture in the Montenegrin national economy is insignificant.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Montenegro is the administrative body in charge of the marine and freshwater fisheries and aquaculture. All activities in the fisheries sector are undertaken by five advisors.
Food safety issues on the farms and of the products are monitored and controlled by the Veterinary Administration, the Ministry of Health and by various Laboratories (Veterinary, Public Health, Eco-Toxicology).
The Institute of Marine Biology in Kotor provides the necessary data in the field of mariculture. The Faculty of Biology in Podgorica provides the data for the rearing of freshwater species. The Statistical Office of Montenegro is in charge of preparing and implementing numerous statistical researches, including aquaculture.
All the relevant issues regarding aquaculture in Montenegro are regulated by the following National Laws.
The Law on Marine Fishery and Mariculture, adopted in 2009, lays down the conditions for farming of fish and other marine organisms in locations planned in line with the Mariculture Development Plan, which has to be in accordance with the National Fishery Development Strategy. Mariculture activities are carried out in accordance with the principles of Good Manufacturing Practice in mariculture, while adherence to the principles will be taken into account in the procedure of issuing and cancelling the mariculture permits.
Production volume limits (minimal and maximal) and the programme of water quality monitoring and biomonitoring on the farms and around the farms are regulated by the Law on Marine Fishery and Mariculture. The aim is to give farm owners timely information about the appearance of pollution and natural phenomena, if any, which may have a negative impact on the mariculture zone and on mariculture products.
The Law on Freshwater Fishery lays down conditions for issuing licences to aquaculture farms. The Law also prescribes the monitoring of water on and around the farms and this is carried out by the relevant national authority.
The National Law on Food Safety lays down: food and feed safety requirements, market regulation, declaration, labeling, presentation and marketing promotion of food and feed, materials, packing and objects that come into contact with food or feed, food and feed additives, fast frozen food, genetically modified food and feed, water requirements, traceability, withdrawal of unsafe food and feed from the market, common food and feed hygienic conditions (primary production conditions, production and market conditions and HACCP procedures in entities dealing with food or feed production and marketing), licensing of the facilities etc.
The Law on Sanitary Control of Foodstuffs lays down general hygiene norms. Special regulations prescribe minimal technical conditions for the facilities: production, manufacture, processing, storage, transportation and the sale of fish and fish products.
The National Law on Animal Welfare Protection deals with issues of farmed animal protection during the capture period (production): building and maintenance of farming facilities, feeding and watering, animal movement, attendance in case of illness or injury, protection during the transportation and keeping conditions.
One of the roles of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Montenegro is to support the numerous scientific researches in the field of aquaculture.
Related to freshwater aquculture this refers mainly to experiments into rearing autochthonous fish species for restocking purposes. These projects are carried out by the Faculty of Biology in Podgorica.
The Institute of Marine Biology in Kotor carries out scientific research in the field of mariculture and its role is to act as scientific advisor to all mariculture producers. This includes various experimental projects related to development and improvement of farming technology of European flat oysters (Ostrea edulis) and Mediterranean mussel (Mytilus galloprovincialis), while one of the projects was dedicated to possibilities of the sea trout (Salmo trutta) farming in seawater. In the Law of marine fisheries and mariculture, Institute of marine biology is recognized as institution responsible for monitoring of the quality of seawater for shellfish and fish farming as well as for monitoring of fisheries resources.
In collaboration with the Association of mariculture producers from Trieste, Institute of marine biology organized short training courses for students, farm owners and operators during 2002. Intensive collabotarion with mariculture producers resulted in realization of the project related to protection of shellfish farms from predator fish species (2013-2014). Through that project Institute used possibilities of EU support - TAIEX with great support of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
In order to increase importance of the tradition of mariculture and to promote this sector in Montenegro and widely, Institute of marine biology (with FAO AdriaMed project support) prepared short video about marine fisheries and mariculture which was finished in March 2015. It can be seen on the official web site of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, youtube channel, Institute of marine biology web site, while scientific staffs of the Institute use every opportunity to promote it during important scientific meetings and seminars.
Mediterranean mussel farmers and fisheries sector staffs of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development have been introduced to Mediterranean mussel farming experiences in some EU Countries through EU funded projects of technical support to the fishery sector.
Higher education in aquaculture is offered as a subject at the Faculty of Agriculture and can be chosen as post-graduate studies for MSc at the Faculty of Biology.
Although the economic value of the aquaculture sector is currently very low, the Montenegrin aquaculture seems to have a great potential for future development.
To make the sector more effective, total production should be increased, farms should be modernized, including the production techniques and staff skills. There should be an added value production and diversification of farmed species. The procedures ensuring health product and traceability must also be applied, as already anticipated by the various National Laws. The current low national consumption of aquatic products should be increased through promotion campaigns for the consumption of wild and farmed aquatic species, as well as promoting healthy life styles.
Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and Delegation of the European Union to Montenegro. 2011. Fishery Sector Study for the IPARD Programme; Project Sustainable Management of Marine Fishery Ref. No: EuropeAid/128947/C/SER/ME, Podgorica.
MONSTAT Statistical Office of Montenegro. Year Book. Podgorica.
Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management of Montenegro and the European Agency for Reconstruction. 2006. Montenegro’s Fisheries Development Strategy and capacity building for implementation of EU common fisheries policy. Podgorica.
M. Sljivancanin. 2008. Montenegrin National Aquaculture Market Report. Prepared for the FAO project: support to the GFCM working group on marketing on aquaculture products: Development of a strategy for marketing and promotion of Mediterranean aquaculture.