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Part I Statistics and main indicators

  1. Country brief
  2. General geographic and economic indicators
  3. FAO Fisheries statistics

The Profile (2005)

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    Part I Statistics and main indicators

    Part I of the Fishery and Aquaculture Country Profile is compiled using the most up-to-date information available from the FAO Country briefs and Statistics programmes at the time of publication. The Country Brief and the FAO Fisheries Statistics provided in Part I may, however, have been prepared at different times, which would explain any inconsistencies.

    Country briefUpdated 05-2015

    The Republic of Estonia, with a population of 1.3 million in 2013, covers a territory of 45 230 km2, including the two large islands of Saaremaa and Hiiumaa. It has approximately 3 780 km of coastline. Estonia lies entirely within the Baltic Sea fishing area. Most of its 420 rivers are short rivers; the longest is the Pärnu River (144 km). Lakes are generally small, except for Lake Peipsi, on the Eastern border, which is the fifth largest lake in Europe.

    The Estonian fishery sector includes distant water fishing in the Northwest and Northeast Atlantic, trawl and coastal fishing in the Baltic Sea and inland fisheries. Total 1 446 vessels were reported in 2013. The Estonian distant water fishing fleet consists exclusively of trawlers. The main target species are shrimp, Greenland halibut, redfish (Sebastes sp.), and Atlantic cod.

    The Baltic fleet trawlers target predominately Baltic herring and sprat while the Baltic coastal fishery exploits the local stocks of valuable brackish water fishes like perch, pike-perch, flounder, eel, sea trout and salmon. Passive fishing gear is mainly used in coastal fisheries. In 2013, total Baltic and marine catches amounted to 69 400 tonnes. It is notable that mackerel was not caught for ten years, but in 2013 the catch of mackerel was 1 370 tonnes.

    Estonian inland fisheries (2 900 tonnes in 2013) are based mainly on Lakes Peipsi and Võrtsjärv, targeting primarily European smelt, pike-perch, silver bream, European bream, European perch and European eel. Lake Peipsi has a very rich aquatic fauna with 37 fish species and, thus, it is considered one of the best large fishing lakes in Europe. Lake Peipsi accounted 87 percent of Estonian inland catch in 2013.

    Estonia has favourable geographic and climatic conditions for fish farming. Nonetheless, the production of fish, with a peak of 1 300 tonnes in 1991, has decreased significantly to a level around 300 tonnes during 1993–2004. In 2013, aquaculture output had recovered to a level of 730 tonnes. The dominant species is rainbow trout (63 percent) while there are also minor production of common carp and sturgeon. In 2013, fish farms also bred close to two million of fish for replenishment of fish stock, mainly eel, salmon, and sea trout. Aquaculture provided a job to about 100 people in 2013.

    Recreational fishery which concentrates on the Lake Peipsi is carried out mainly in winter (angling for perch and whitefish). Also, recreational fishing opportunities for tourists have been widely developed in fish farms.

    In 2014, exports of fish and fishery products were valued at USD 256 million, while imports were worth USD 213 million. In 2010, per caput consumption was 14.6 kg. Employment in fisheries has demonstrated a falling trend in recent years. In 2013, full-time and part-time employment of 2 690 people were reported directly in the fisheries sector and an additional 43 155 were reported to be engaged in subsistence activities.

    The Estonian fisheries industry relies in general on the fishery resources of the Northern Atlantic, the Baltic Sea and Lake Peipsi. Catches are largely influenced and limited by the related fishery resources dynamics, availability of fishing quotas and the changing market situation. There is still fleet over capacity and surveillance and control is an issue due to a large number of landing sites (private and public) monitored by a small number of available inspectors.

    The development of recreational fishery could be seen as an opportunity that has not yet been fully exploited. Currently, the sector is not monitored appropriately and products from the recreational sector enter the market to compete in some cases with products from the commercial sector.

    The management of Estonian fisheries is shared by two ministries, the Ministry of the Environment and the Ministry of Agriculture, which creates some inefficiencies and coordination problems. There is also a lack of representation of fishers’ organizations in fisheries management processes.

    The Estonian Marine Institute, University of Tartu, is a leading institution in marine research. The Department of Fish Farming, of the Institute of Animal Science of the University of Tartu, is responsible for research in aquaculture.

    Estonia became a Party to the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and 1995 UN Fish Stocks Agreement in 2005 and 2006 respectively.
    General geographic and economic indicators

    Table 1 - General Geographic and Economic Data - The Republic of Estonia

    Shelf area 36 512km2 Sea around us: http://www.seaaroundus.org/
    Length of continental coastline 3 700km

    European Commission:


    Fisheries GVA Not Available  

    Key statistics

    Country area45 230km2FAOSTAT. Official data, 2013
    Land area42 390km2FAOSTAT. Official data, 2013
    Inland water area2 840km2Computed. Calculated, 2013
    Population - Est. & Proj.1.333millionsFAOSTAT. Official data, 2018
    Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) area36 257km2VLIZ

    Source: FAO Country Profile

    FAO Fisheries statisticsTable 2 in this section is based on statistics prepared by the Statistics and Information Branch of the Fisheries and Aquaculture Department and disseminated in 2016. The charts are based on the same source but these are automatically updated every year with the most recent disseminated statistics.

    Table 2 – Employment and Fleet Statistics – The Republic of Estonia

          1980 1990 2000 2010 2012 2013 2014
    EMPLOYMENT (thousands) 13.42 6.07 7.18 6.98 7.58
      Aquaculture 0.07 0.09 0.08 0.10 0.09
      Capture 13.35 5.98 7.10 6.88 7.49
        Inland 0.77 0.55 0.54 0.55
        Marine 13.35 5.21 6.55 6.34 6.94
    FLEET (thousands vessels) 0.47 0.47 1.10
    Source: FAO Fishery and Aquaculture Statistics
    1) Due to roundings total may not sum up

    Please note: Fishery statistical data here presented exclude the production for marine mammals, crocodiles, corals, sponges, pearls, mother-of-pearl and aquatic plants.


    Updated 2005The Profile

    This country profile provides statistics and indicators produced through FAO’s Statistics programmes, supplemented with information derived from national and other sources and valid at the time of compilation.

    Full text of the Fisheries and Aquaculture Country Profile available at /fishery/docs/DOCUMENT/fcp/en/FI_CP_EE.pdf

    Additional information

    FAO Thematic data bases

    Meetings & News archive


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