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A short overview of the status of aquaculture in the Adriatic countries

A short overview of the status of aquaculture in Albania

Aleksander Flloko*

* Professional Fishery Assocation of Albania - Rruga Zenel Baboci №3, Tirana, Albania.
E-mail: [email protected]

1. General background

Albania is a small country in Europe which covers an area of 28 748 m2 and is situated in the Western part of the Balkan Peninsula, between 39° 38' and 42° 39' of north latitude and 19° 16' to 21° 40' longitude It is bordered by Greece on the South and Southeast, by Macedonia on the East and by Kosovo and Montenegro on the North, and on the West there are the Adriatic and Ionian Seas. Albania's boundary is 1094 km long with a coastline of about 470 km. Its national waters and fishing areas are confined to territorial waters of 12 mi in width. The continental shelf lies entirely within the 15 mi Exclusive Economic Zone. The shelf is wider in the North (Adriatic Sea), up to 25 mi across, and narrower in the South (Ionian Sea), from 2 to 3 mi in width. In the international channel the sea depth exceeds 1000 m for more than 25 mi. The sea bottom varies from north to south. In the north, the shelf is larger and the slope less steep to the 200 m isobath making trawling easier, while in the south, where the water depth rapidly reaches 200 m, it is uneven and covered with rocks.

Being compressed by the sea on the West and mountains on the East, Albania resides between two climatic areas: the Mediterranean and Continental zones of Central Europe. Consequently, its climatic conditions vary greatly according to the location: coastal plains, and hilly and mountainous zones.

Albania has a population of 3.4 million inhabitants and has one of the highest population growth rates in Europe. The Republic of Albania is divided into 12 prefectures, 36 districts, 312 communes and 65 municipalities.

Table 1. General data.

1. Total land28 748 km2
2. Coastline (length)470 km
3. Lagoon area100 km2
4. Natural lakes and reservoirs500 km2
5. GVP (2001)US$ 10 550 000
6. Value of fish imports (2001)€ 5 355 408.333
7. Value of fish exports (2001)€ 8 917 993.896

2. Characteristics of the sector

2.1. Historical data

In Albania, because of economical reasons, aquaculture activities dealing mainly with the rearing of water species (fish, molluscs, crustaceans, etc.) has recently changed becoming an important business. The development of modern aquaculture rearing techniques during the last three decades has created a new vision. Therefore, its main concern is the growth of aquaculture production, in particular that of freshwater species (carp and trout); marine species (seabass and seabream); bivalves (mussels) and crustaceans (Japanese shrimp).

Experience in semi-intensive and intensive aquaculture in Albania commenced in the early 1960s. During that period the first carp hatcheries were constructed and later the Koran hatchery in Pogradec was built. These hatcheries were used for restocking carp fingerlings in natural and artificial lakes and reservoirs, while in the Koran hatchery fingerlings were stocked in Ohrid Lake. For the first time in 1960, new fingerling species such as silver, bighead and grass carp were imported from China. In 1972 a group of qualified Chinese specialists in grass and plankton fish feed, arrived in Albania. The first reproduction of grass and plankton fish feed (silver, bighead and grass carp) was carried out in 1972 in the Laknas hatchery near Tirana.From 1972 to 1973 Albanian specialists become acquainted with up-to-date technology. This experience gained served not only for the extension of the activity throughout the country, but also for the reproduction of other fish species.

In 1978, rainbow trout was imported from Italy for the first time. In the early 1980s a 7 ha trout hatchery was constructed in Saranda. This hatchery reached an average production of over 200 tonnes and 1 million fingerlings per annum. During the same period in the Port of Shengjini, successful experiments were achieved in the artificial reproduction of seabass, which later extended into an industrial range. Many more hatcheries (over 25) were built then mainly in Central Albania and in the lower coastal zone for fish species of the carp family for a total surface area of 800 ha (Kavaja 200 ha, Durresi 200 ha, Vlora 150 ha, Shkodra 100 ha, etc.). In the 1980s about 80 mussel farms were constructed in the Butrinti Lagoon (Saranda). These farms gave an average annual production of 2 000 tonnes, and its peak was reached in 1989 with 5 000 tonnes. With the ban on the export of live molluscs, this activity decreased continuously until it ceased completely. After the nineties the State hatcheries were privatized and today only a part of these are still operational. By the end of 2002 and during 2003 important investments were carried out for the construction of a modern hatchery for Koran in Ohrid Lake. These investments were realized through the contribution of the Albanian Pilot Fishery Development Project, financed by the World Bank. Before the mid-1990s to the present day, trout hatcheries have been constructed and extended in many areas of Albania (Saranda, Tepelena, Pogradec and Dibra, etc.).

The first intensive aquaculture of marine species started in the mid-1990s in the Kavaja hatchery, for the growing out of shrimps. The Italian-Albanian joint venture KAP Kavaja had operated for a decade changing the Kavaja hatchery from a freshwater species hatchery to one for marine species. This was done through important investments for the acquisition of the most up-to-date technology in this field. Recently, along the Ionian coast from Vlora Bay to the South border with Greece, the first farms for the cultivation of marine species in floating cages were constructed. The results obtained during the early years are very promising and have raised the interest of other Albanian businessmen in the extension of this activity in other coastal areas.

Commercial freshwater aquaculture of warmwater species (originally based on common carp, to which Chinese carp at the beginning of the seventies were introduced) represents the major aquaculture production in the country. Coldwater salmonids, mainly Oncorhynchus mykiss and Salmo letnica are another important group of species. Due to the economical and political transition period, the production decreased sharply but in the last two years has showed a positive upward trend. The culture of bivalves (especially Mytilus gallo-provincialis) began more recently and the average production was about 2 000 t/year with a maximum of about 5 000 tonnes in the year 1990. Shrimp culture is still a new activity, and there is only one farm in Albania. As regards to marine aquaculture there are seabream and seabass fish farms using about 10 small floating cages in Saranda and the Vlora Region. As there are many possibilities for the development of marine aquaculture in Albania, and judging by the country's water resources, climate, biologic potentials and socio-political factors it could become an important sector for its economy.

2.2 Aquaculture systems

2.2.1 Extensive aquaculture production systems

Natural lakes and coastal lagoons can be considered as extensive aquaculture production systems. All the major natural lakes of Albania are international. They border with Montenegro (Shkodra Lake), Macedonia (Ohrid Lake) and Macedonia and Greece (Prespa Lake).

Shkodra Lake is situated on the Northwest part of Albania and is fed by the Moraca River (97 km) of Montenegro and tributary to the Adriatic Sea through the Buna River. At a total area of 391 km2 38 percent of the lake (147.9 km2) lies in Albania, and 62 percent in Montenegro. Shkodra Lake is the largest of the balkan lakes and its water surface varies from 360 km2 in summer to 690 km2 in winter/spring. At an area of 372 km2 it has a mean depth of 4.4 m. Fishing is considered a traditional activity in Shkodra Lake. There are 37 species which belong to 15 families and the most important are cyprinids with about 90 percent of the fish biomass. The most valuable fish food of the lake are common carp (Cyprinus carpio),bleak (Alburnus albidus), crucian carp (Carassius carassius) and ‘scrap’ fish such as Rutilus rutilus. Migratory fish from the Adriatic Sea through the Buna River include eel (Anguilla anguilla), grey mullets (Mugilidae), shad (Alosa fallax), seabass (Dicentrarchus labrax), some specimen of sturgeons such as (Acipenser sturio) and (Acipenser naccari). At the end of the 1980s fish catch production in Shkodra Lake varied from 650 to 815 t/year, today its no more than 300 t/year.

Ohrid Lake is situated on the Eastern part of Albania at an altitude of 695 m. Its total area consists of 348.8 km2, one-third or 118.9 km2 lies in Albania and the rest belongs to Macedonia. Being the deepest of the balkan lakes, it has a maximum and mean depth of 286 and 145 m respectively,it is also the largest biological reserve in Europe. There are 17 species of fish (10 of which are endemic), and the commercial catch is composed of koran (Salmo letnica) , belushka (Salmothymus ohridanus), bleak (Alburnus alburnus), and common carp (Cyprinus carpio), etc. The fish catch varies from 90 to 150 t/year. From 1965 to 1966, artificial reproduction was carried out for Salmo letnica , and millions of fry and fingerlings are stocked every year.

Prespa Lake, at an altitude of 853 m (above sea level), flows into Ohrid Lake by an underground stream and is shared by Albania, FYROM (Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia) and Greece. This oligo eutrophic lake has a total area of 274 km2, of which 49.4 km2 (18 percent) lies in Albania. It has an average and maximum depth of 20 and 54.2 m respectively. The fish catch is mainly of cyprinids, moreover bleak(Alburnus albidus) and common carp, and the average production varies from 300 to 500 t/year.

There are eight rivers in Albania but fishery activities are practised only in the Buna and Vjosa Rivers. The species caught in the Buna River are the same as those of other lakes, while in the Vjosa River an annual production of about 10 t is based mostly on Chondrostoma nasus.

Due to lack of funds, during the economical and political transition, only the restocking of natural lakes was undertaken using limited public funds, while single or groups of organized fishermen stocked the reservoirs. The natural lakes are restocked annually with millions of fry and fingerlings and the Albanian Government has taken into consideration the time it takes to (conserve) preserve the genetic diversity. Therefore, breeders taken from each lake produce common carp fingerlings which are stocked every year in the Shkodra, Ohrid, and Prespa Lakes. For the past four decades, to protect the endemic species, annual stocking of millions of fry and small quantities of fingerlings of koran (Salmo letnica), an old species were introduced in the Ohrid Lake.Also in the same lake, until 1980, there were good conditions from the hydrological point of view for natural reproduction of Chondrostoma nasus ohridanus. However, since then, with the changes of the stream hydrological system the conditions necessary for the natural reproduction of this species no longer exist.

Fishing activities in the above-mentioned ecosystem were exercised by the State fishery enterprises. The fishermen, organized in teams, were paid on the basis of quantity and fish species catch with a fixed price per kilogram which was decided beforehand by the State. It was the State fishery enterprises who provided the different nets, mechanical spare parts, small boats, and fuel for the commercialisation of the products. During the last decade a sharp decrease has characterized the fisheries sector in Albania. In this exercise many people carry out fishing activities without a licence. This is a serious social problem that needs to be considered carefully. Estimates show that there are 4 000 employees in this sector for whom fishing is the only source of income. Fishing in inland waters, especially lakes, without having a licence makes this activity rather complex. This difficult situation is related to the socio-economic conditions of the population around the lakes, who consider fishing as the sole opportunity to earn a living. The Shkodra and Ohrid Lakes give the most problems.The Directorate of Fisheries has taken action to improve the situation by adopting the law not only as an authority, but also by obtaining assistance from the local Government in the hope of minimizing this serious problem.

Extensive aquaculture inside coastal lagoons has been traditionally developed in Albania. The total surface area of the lagoons is about 10 000 ha and is divided as follows:Velipoja 180 ha, Merxhan 300 ha, Ceka 800 ha, Patoku 300 ha, Karavasta 3 900 ha, Narta 2800 ha, Orikum 120 ha, and Butrinti 1 600 ha. With the exception of the Butrinti Lagoon, which is situated along the Ionian Sea, the others are on the Adriatic Sea with depths from 0.3 to 1.5 m, salinities of 15–40‰, oxygen 2.8–8 mg/l, and temperatures ranging from 5–32 °C. The past average yields have varied from 40–80 kg/ha. The main species found in the lagoons are mullets, Mugil cephalus, Liza spp., Chelon labrosus; seabass, Dicentrarchus labrax; eel Anguilla anguilla; seabream, Sparus aurata and sand smelt, Atherina hepsetus. The lagoons have similar geomorphologic characteristics with soft bottom sediments over compact clay and organic material. Butrinti Lagoon has a different geomorphologic and hydrological characteristic: with a depth of up to 25 m, salinity from18 to 30‰ and a temperature range of 10 to 27 °C.

Coastal lagoons are very sensitive ecosystems;the main problem faced by the lagoons is their communication with the sea, deterioration of the fresh water quality as well as old fish-weirs with a low selection capacity. Fishing in the lagoons has been stabilized and is performed by certain groups of fishermen. Harvesting yields range between 50 and 150 kg/ha and consist mainly in quality fish like seabass, wrasse, eel, and mullet, etc. The Butrinti Lagoon is important for the cultivation of mussels. In the past, 75 units for mussel cultivation were established in this lagoon with a production that reached 5000 tonnes by the end of the 1980s. This production was mainly for export to community markets but a small amount was kept for domestic markets and processing industries.

A difficult situation created in the Albanian fishery in the coastal lagoons caused by illegal fishing (related to the socio-economic situation of the surrounding areas) is in the process of being stabilized. In this direction, parallel with the fishing inspectorate work, other government structure support is also closely collaborating with the district Government. The situation on the biggest part of the lagoons has now improved. The lagoons are in different States, and depend on the stability of their respective hydraulic equilibrium for the dynamics of fresh and sea water. These environments, once productively organized according to the plans of the former regime, will be reorganized. In the framework of the PHARE Programme an intervention by the Albanian Coastal Lagoons Board (Ministry Agriculture and Food MAF, 2002) has been calculated, consisting of some engineering work in the Karavasta and Lezha Lagoons.

The legal aspects regarding the concessions of the areas, the use of ‘lavoriero’ (fish-weir) and the duties of the agents must be defined by clear regulations. At the moment the lagoons are managed in situations that vary from one to another while awaiting the provisions that will regulate relations with the State.For the most important lagoons, the current situation is outlined as follows:

Karavasta Lagoon is the largest of the Albanian lagoons and covers an area of 3 800 ha. It is situated in the central part of the country and was recently included in the Ramsar convention due to its particular qualities from the naturalistic point of view. At the moment 80 fishermen work in this lagoon and it is one of the few basins that may still be considered as ‘managed’ in the organizational difficulties that the whole country is experiencing. There are three canals that connect the lagoon with the sea and all have “lavoriero” (fish-weir) managed by fishermen. However, these structures are of an old-fashioned type and should be renewed not only to improve fish capture but also for the inflow and outflow of the water in the communication canals with the sea. This lagoon produced from 1986 to 1990 an average of 242 t/year of various species of which one third was made up of eels, 12.2 tonnes of seabass and 12.5 tonnes of seabream, therefore, from a production point of view it is considered particularly valuable. Later from 1996 to 1998 production had fallen sharply (130–150 t/year) due to the irregular dredging of the three communication canals with the sea.

Narta Lagoon. Forty local fishermen work in this managed lagoon of approximately 2800 ha. They are organized in teams, and one of them is operating in the ‘lavoriero’ while the others are in the lagoon. The average production from 1986 to 1990 was about 200 t/year but from 1996 to 1998 it decreased from 50 to 70 t/year (MAF, 2000). Until two years ago the lagoon was more or less totally non-productive, as there was no communication with the sea and the salinity exceeded 70‰ during the summer period also one third of the lagoon had dried. Starting in 1998, both public and private funds were used for dredging the only communication canal between the lagoon and the sea. The approving of the new amendments in the law on “Aquaculture and Fisheries” business management of the basin must be completely re-established.

Butrinti Lagoon is the only Albanian lagoon on the Ionian coast and covers an area of about 1600 ha. It communicates with the sea through a large navigable canal and it has a “lavoriero”. The whole area is of incomparable natural beauty to which should be added the important archaeological ruins of the Hellenistic influence on Ancient times.The lagoon has controlled inflows of fresh water. It is one of the deepest salty lakes in the Mediterranean with an average and maximum depth of 10 and 25 m respectively. There are 20 licensed fishermen with a fish production which now varies from 50 to 70 t/year.

2.2.2 Integrated aquaculture production systems

The presence of the mountain barriers before the rivers break through them into gorges en route to the lowlands, as well as the impervious bedrock for dam sites, provide good conditions for reservoirs in Albania's upland basins. There are hydroelectric power stations and the total surface of the artificial lakes is about 7 000 ha. The most important fish species in these lakes are cyprinids like bleak (Alburnus albidus), and Chinese carps. In only one of them, Fierza Lake (5000 ha) shared with the former Yugoslavia, two other species: pike perch Stizostedion lucioperca and perch Perca fluviatilis had been introduced since 1980. The pike perch has found very good conditions for both natural reproduction and feeding. The fish catch (mostly bleak) has reduced from 200 to 50 t/year (mostly pike perch) but the commercial value of fish is higher.

There are about 6000 small reservoirs covering a total surface area of 2 700 ha. In many of these extensive aquaculture is practised and the fish production of the Chinese carp family (especially silver and bighead carp) varies from 500 to 800 t/year. Currently, the estimated production is about 200 t/year. Until 1990 the Government owned all the fish farming centres, with a total surface of 215 ha, carrying out the restocking of the reservoirs, and natural and artificial lakes. The most important species stocked are Chinese carps (Hyphophtalmichthys molitrix, Aristichthys nobilis, Ctenopharyngodon idella, Megalobrama amblycephala), common carp (Cyprinus carpio) and “koran” Salmo letnica. Wild caught fingerlings of grey mullets (Mugil cephalus and Liza ramada) are used to restock some reservoirs in the Southern part of Albania.

2.2.3 Intensive and semi-intensive aquaculture systems

Table 2. Main species and production systems currently in practice.

Common nameSpeciesProduction facilitiesMarket focus (export /domestic)
TroutOnchorhyncus mykissRaceways, tanksDomestic
SeabassDicentrarchus labraxCagesDomestic
SeabreamSparus aurataCagesDomestic
Common carpCyprinus carpioPondsDomestic
Silver carpHypophthalmichtys molitrixPondsDomestic
Bighead carpArystichthys nobilisPondsDomestic
Grass carpCtenopharyngodon idellaPondsDomestic
ShrimpPenaeus japonicusPondsDomestic/export
MusselMytilus galloprovincialisTraysDomestic/export
KoranSalmo letnicaTanksDomestic

Carp farming, which is based on the rearing of Chinese and common carp, is traditionally developed in Albania and it is the most widespread aquaculture practice. Perhaps Albania was the first Eastern European country to introduce Chinese carp, first in 1959 and later in 1969. In 1972 artificial reproduction and mass production of fingerlings was performed.Since then and until 1990 new fish farming centres were constructed all over the country, covering a total surface area of about 800 h. More than 32 million fingerlings of approximately 8 to 10 g were produced for restocking purposes. A part of these fingerlings were used as stocking material in the fattening ponds of the semi-intensive fish farms. About 200 ha were used (as fattening ponds) with an average yield of 2 to 2.5 t/ha and a maximum of 5 t/ha.

Trout farming. Before 1997 there was only one trout farm (Oncorhynchus mykiss) in Albania (MAF, 1999), which covered an area of 4.2 ha of raceways near Saranda, with an annual production of about 250 tonnes. The fingerlings for this farm were produced locally in another fish farm of one hectar and the pellets were imported from France and Italy. There was an excellent abundance of freshwater but the trout farm suffered from a poor feed conversion rate, low international market prices and of the high cost of imported feed. In 2003 there were about 20 trout farms (generally private family activities) in Saranda, Tepelena, Pogradec Diber and other regions, but unfortunately today trout farming is non-existant.

Shrimp farming. The farming of marine species is still at the pilot stage of development. There is only one extensive shrimp culture farm at Kavaja with a total surface area of 215 ha. It was built 30 years ago and the main production until 1992 were the fingerlings and finfish of Chinese carps. In 1994 a joint-venture the Kavaja Aquaculture Production (KAP) was founded with Italian partners. They undertook the reconstruction of the farm and are currently working on a surface area of 120 ha for extensive shrimp culture of Peneaus japonicus. Recently, they have ensured that half of the farm will continue with shrimp culture and the other half will begin stocking species like seabass and seabream. There have been attempts by fish farm owners in Narta (200 ha) to also found a joint-venture with Italian partners. Being near to the sea this fish farm has shown some advantages for foreign investors.

Bivalves farming. Since the beginning of the 1960s bivalve culture has been developed in the Butrinti Lagoon. Fixed structures for the production of mussels (Mytilus galloprovincialis) are used. Due to very good environmental conditions, about 80 fixed concrete units had been constructed during the late 1970s. Since then the annual production of mussels has increased, reaching a maximum of 5000 t/year in the late 1980s. During the past years mussel production practically ceased, both for internal organizational reasons, but mainly because of the ban on exports imposed in October 1994 by the EC for sanitary reasons, moreover for all living products of the fishery sector. Some attempts have been made by private groups to put into operation approximately half of the fixed structures, mainly for the local markets in the hope that, in the near future this will open up the exportation to the EC countries.

Marine fish farming in floating cages is in its third year of production in Albania. During the past years about ten private entrepreneurs obtained a licence to start marine finfish farming in floating cages (seabream - S. aurata and seabass - D. labrax) in a 16 units (for a total of about 8 000m2 of sea water, MAF, 2002) and the first production in 2001 was of approximately 20 tonnes. Good positions for this aim along the littoral zone of the Ionian Sea have been identified and there are no constraints with the other users. The lack of funds seems to be for the moment the most important constraint to overcome in close collaboration with foreign investors and other international donors.

Table 3. Aquaculture production systems.

Groups and environnentSpecies combinationIntensity of productionProduction facilitiesEcosystem
Freshwater culture of common carp
xxxx earthen pondsFish farm, reservoir, lake
Freshwater culture of Chinese carp xxx earthen pondsFish farm, reservoir, lake
Freshwater culture of troutx   xcement pondsFish farm
Freshwater fingerling production of common carp and Chinese carpxx  xearthen pondsFish farm
Freshwater culture of Koran Salmo letnica    xraceways, tanksFish farm
Marine water culture of seabass and seabreamx   xcagesNearshore waters
Marine water culture of shrimp Penaeus japonicus
x xx earthen pondscoastal area
Molluscs Mussel culture in brackishwaterx x  trayscoastal lagoon

3. National policy

In Albania a specific aquaculture policy document does not exist and aquaculture is included in the Fishery Sector Development Strategy, part of the Green Strategy, approved by the Government in 1998. In the absence of a specific policy, aquaculture development is mainly based on development plans elaborated by the authorities in charge of administering the fishery sector (Directorate of Fisheries, Ministry of Agriculture and Food). Under the Albanian Law No.7809, 05/04/1995 on “Fisheries and Aquaculture” it is also foreseen the establishment of a Consultative Committee. It is a consultative body to the minister in the aquaculture and fisheries sector, composed mainly by representatives of producers and experts.

In Albania the administration of the aquaculture and fishery sector is centralized and Article 9 of the Albanian law on “Fisheries and Aquaculture” (Laws No. 7908/1995 and No. 8870/2002) states that the Aquaculture and Fisheries Development Plan is a specific object of the State budget. The Ministry of Agriculture and Food develops the policy for fisheries and aquaculture. At the same time this Ministry administers agriculture, animal husbandry, veterinary services, forestry and fisheries.

The undertaking of aquaculture activities is permitted by a relevant licence issued by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food. The licence is issued subject to projects not causing harm to the environment and to their support in the development of the Albanian economy. The Board for issuing aquaculture licences is constituted by representatives of the Committee on Environmental Protection and other ministries concerned.

Planning in the field of aquaculture is carried out on the basis of an integrated management of economical and environmental interests with other sectors concerned being the subject for procedures for evaluating environmental effects.The right to use private land for undertaking aquaculture activities is given through special procedures, in conformity with the legislation in force.The right to use State controlled lands for undertaking aquaculture activities is permitted by the same licence, taking into consideration recommendations and the consent of local competent authorities for the proposed area. The right to use the waters of the Republic of Albania for undertaking aquaculture is determined through the same aquaculture licence. State controlled land for aquaculture purposes is classified as agricultural land according to the legislation in force. Based on the Law No. 8318, foreign investors lease the land for 99 years.In Albania there is no separate law for aquaculture, but it is included in Law No. 7908 on “Aquaculture and Fisheries”. This law is the same for both the central and local Government, and it is clear that aquaculture has no advantages or privileges. In a few words, aquaculture is not seen as an agriculture activity. Based on the Law Nos. 7638 and 7764 the attitude to foreign investment in any field of the economy, aquaculture included, has no limit and could arrive at 100 percent of the original share capital.

There is no specific legislation which regulates the environmental impact on aquaculture. The international conventions are applied to introduce the non‑indigenous species and based on the Laws No. 7908 on “Fisheries and Aquaculture ” and No. 7674 on “Inspection and Veterinary Service” both Directorates in the Ministry of Agriculture and Food issue a specific authorization.

Until a few years ago there were government agreements between Albania and the former Yugoslavia, but due to the specific situation and the war these agreements do not exist today. On the other hand there are some technical agreements between Albania and the former Macedonia regarding Ohrid Lake. Both countries have continued to restock the lake with the advanced fry and fingerlings. As regards Shkodra Lake the collaboration has been scarce, but due to the new situation in the Republic of Montenegro it is hoped that in the near future collaboration will take place, and a similar collaboration/agreement will be made with Greece for the Prespa Lake.

The Albanian law on “Aquaculture and Fisheries” was prepared and formulated during 1994 in close collaboration with FAO's technical assistance. This law was approved on 5 April 1995. All the principles of the Code of conduct for responsible fisheries are included in this law, but the actual putting into practice of this law is not so easy, moreover for social reasons and lack of funds. Albania does not have a specific legislation for aquaculture products.

The marketing of fisheries products is regulated by the Law No. 7674 dated 23 February 1993 on the “Veterinary Service and Inspectorate”, the Law No. 7941 dated 31 May 1995, Regulation No. 2 dated 20 July 1999 on the “Sanitary Veterinary Rules that Regulate Production and Marketing of Bivalve Molluscs”, Regulation No.3 dated 26 July 1999 on the “Conditions of Marketing of Livestock and Aquaculture Products”, as well as the EU regulations and directives that have been accepted through the decision of the Council of Ministers No. 646 dated 20 November 1995 on the “Veterinary Conditions of Marine Products”.

Trying to overcome the restrictions compelled by the EC in connection with the hygiene and sanitary problems, new regulations and directives are now being prepared.

In Albania incentives are provided to aquaculture producers. Credit does not exist and there are no incentives for the price of water and use of land for aquaculture activities. Taking into consideration the problems that aquaculture producers are faced with, the reduction of import tax from 20 percent to 0 percent is very little. Penalties are included in the Albanian law on “Aquaculture and Fisheries“ and based on this law, a Fishery Inspectorate has been established with 12 inspectors within the country for both marine and inland water fisheries. However, in practice this Inspectorate does not function as well as it should. It seems to be the social problem such as the high level of unemployment that influences this fact.

In defining the role of aquaculture in Integrated Coastal Area Management (ICAM) there is a need to point out that this industry is relatively new and that its development has coincided with a large increase in environmental awareness. Unlike other industries located in the coastal zone, aquaculture relies heavily on natural aquatic resources, and requires a very high environmental quality. Aquaculture in most cases represents a new activity, and as such has to establish rights of access to coastal areas and resources in the context of the existing Albanian legislative system which acts to protect the established activities. On the whole, legislation and regulations in Albania are inadequate and non-specific to aquaculture and may not be particularly beneficial for integration of aquaculture and other activities in the coastal zone management plans. Since aquaculture uses both terrestrial and aquatic environments, it has experienced much duplication, confusion and uncertainty. This has resulted in conflicts with other coastal users and managers as, for example, problems with tourism. Each of these users has different requirements and aspirations. Of most relevance to integrating aquaculture into ICAM is the interaction between scientists, ICAM policy planners, economists, general public and neighboring coastal communities. Each group requires information in a very explicit format. The lack of effective transfer of information between these groups is considered a major obstacle in the integration of aquaculture into ICAM policies and resource allocation strategies. The role of aquaculture in ICAM is to develop the industry with a full appreciation of environment/production interdependencies and allow it to become an integral part of the overall ecosystem. ICAM will take advantage of a full integration of aquaculture if techniques, planning and management are harmonized with the natural ecosystem and are compatible with other coastal users so that any negative impact is minimized.

In the framework of lagoon management, Albanian administration is based on the principles of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (CCRF), published by FAO in 1995 and approved by consensus. The CCRF, which was unanimously adopted on 31 October 1995 by the FAO Conference, provides the necessary framework for national and international efforts to ensure sustainable exploitation of aquatic living resources in harmony with the environment. Income could increase for producers through the application of labels. This use could be also considered as an important institutional result. In fact, an increasing sustainability of the fishery activities, including aquaculture, could be expected, while more security for consumers will be assured.Apart from the direct application to aquaculture and capture fisheries the adoption of the principles of the CCRF could also facilitate the integration of these activities within the coastal zone planning if the sustainable use of natural resources were to be considered an important issue.Every year grants are received from the State budget to manage the coastal lagoons mouth.

4. Production and market

Fish production according to water categories has changed during the past few years. The following table provides information on the production from inland waters (lakes, dams, rivers, reservoirs) and coastal lagoons (including mussel production from the Butrinti Lagoon) during the period from 1990 to 2001.

Table 4. Production according water categories (in tonnes)

Coastal Lagoons816.522112311634116.47980225.6240174240
Inland Waters2 322.41627107.937393257.350.260370.56271 1981 558
Butrinti lagoon (mussels)444.2662300445300300200104.40200200150
Total3 583.12 510530.9934427673.7329.2244.4596.11 0671 5721 948

At the beginning of the 1990s, Albania inherited about 35 aquaculture farms and hatcheries. These farms and hatcheries were oriented towards the production of carp fingerlings and fish for general consumption, and one of the farms was used to cultivate trout in Saranda. After privatisation and the economic transition, some of these farms and hatcheries ceased to operate. However, during recent years investments have been undertaken to set up new farms with more suitable species for the market and new approaches for aquaculture farming including sea farms with cage culture.

With the inception of the privatisation process all the fish farm centres and hatcheries both for carp and trout cultivation became privatised, but only a few are still in operation. To date only eight hatcheries with a total surface area of about 40 ha and a annual production of about 3 million fingerlings are in operation. This sharp decline in the fingerling production occured due to the political and economical transition period (absence of legal framework and financial support, land ownership problem, water price liberalization, etc.). This lack in fingerling production was influenced by the poor stocking rate of the reservoirs, natural and artificial lakes, and, therefore, in the fish catch. There are four public property aquaculture farms under the Fisheries Research Institute, which are involved in the inland waters restocking programme.

Agricultural reservoirs have a broad distribution all over the country and can serve as an important source of income. In the context of the policies designed by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food and its Directorate of Fisheries to reduce poverty, a specific programme on their reactivation for fishing was begun. As a second step, a collaboration programme was established with the local government under which these reservoirs are located. Following specific policies further steps will be oriented towards increasing the degree of organization to support the production of fingerlings. The following table provides information on the licensed companies that deal with fishing in the agricultural reservoirs. This sector has a lot of development opportunities. Once the agricultural reservoirs start restocking, hatcheries will begin operating again, as the need for fingerlings will increase considerably.

In order to protect fishery reserves of inland waters as well as reduce poverty, a special restocking programme for natural and artificial lakes is being implemented. Every year, the Fisheries Research Institute receives funds for the production and purchase of fingerlings in order to restock the Ohrid, Prespa, Fierza and Uleza Lakes. The institute has five hatcheries for the production of fingerlings: Tapize (Tirana), Lin, Tushemisht and Zagorçan (Pogradec) and Zvezde. The hatcheries in Zagorçan and Zvezde produce carp fingerlings in order to restock Prespa and Ohrid Lakes. Meanwhile, hatcheries in Lin and Tushemisht produce Koran fingerlings (Salmo letnika). In all of these hatcheries, local parents from respective lakes are used in order to ensure preservation of biodiversity. For the Koran (Salmo letnika), spawn is collected from the species harvested from the lake. Spawns are then kept in incubators until they reach the correct weight for repopulation. The hatchery in Tapize is used to keep genetically improved fish of the carp family such as the common carp, Ctenopharyngodon idella and Hypopothalmichthys spp.A certain quantity of fingerlings is purchased from private fishermen in order to restock the large artificial lakes of Fierza and Uleza.

The following table (Table 5) provides information on the production of fingerlings by the Fisheries Research Institute and the amounts purchased from private hatcheries and their distribution.

Table 5. Quantity of larvae and fingerlings produced by the FRI (in thousands).

Average weight 4 g
Average weight 8 g
Average weight 2 g
1994250605320-1 175
19972454781 0002001 923
19981905358002001 725
19992005408003501 890
20004705607503702 150
20012456807503702 045
TOTAL1 6004 0985 3801 59012 668

Source: The Fisheries Research Institute - Durres

Table 6. Amount purchased from private hatcheries (in thousands)

YEARFingerlingsStocked inland waters
1995400Uleza, Belsh, Seferaj
1996700Shkodra, Uleza, V. Dejes, Fierza.
1997431Shkodra, Uleza.
1998726Fierza, Uleza, Shkoder.
19991 030Fierza, Uleza, Thane.
2000551.5Fierza, Uleza, Thane.
2001919.87Fierza, Uleza, Shkoder, Tirana

Source: The Fisheries Research Institute - Durres

The earlier years shown in the above table correspond to the time when these hatcheries were moved to come under the responsibility of the Fisheries Research Institute. For the past three years aquaculture development was directed in such a way that the fish market received more requests. Albania imports marine aquaculture products from Greece, mainly seabass and seabream. The request for these products made it necessary to increase investment in cage and trout culture. Marine aquaculture is developed in the southern part of the country, which offers much more possibilities to expand this activity. On the whole part of imports get the aquaculture products, mainly seabass and seabream from Greece and trout.

Table 7. Fish farm production from 2000 to 2002 (in tonnes)

YearTroutSeabream and seabassMusselsShrimps

Nevertheless, the development of this sector is faced with difficulties in providing fingerlings and fish feed. The lack of hatcheries for the production of marine fingerlings obliges the Albanian farmers to import, mainly from Greece. To this aim, parallel with the support politics for fingerling production, initiatives are decreasing the custom tasks of the fingerling imports. In trout aquaculture, together with the import of fingerlings, some farms produce these rather for necessity and not for providing third parties.

According to the Decision 95/98/CE dated 17 March 1995, that amends the Decision 94/621/CE the export of live bivalve molluscs to the community market, is prohibited. The opening of the exports for live bivalve molluscs to the EU is a common priority of the Albanian Veterinary Service and the Directorate of Fisheries. As a first phase in this context, the EU legal framework has been adopted in the field of live molluscs collection and marketing. Structures for the control of the products have been set up and also redesigned. The necessary budget has been obtained for the monitoring of the production areas and this activity has begun. This fund will be constant in guaranteeing consistent monitoring in the future. Under the PHARE Programme, the Fisheries Research Institute has received important equipment that will allow it to perform analyses of the phytoplankton (i.e., inverted microscope as well as other equipment for physical - chemical analyses). The cost of this equipment is € 215 000.

5. Relationship with capture fisheries

Over the past years marine aquaculture has shown a large expansion in production in a number of Mediterranean countries including Albania. It provides an important source of high quality food and could be considered an important management tool to limit pressure on wild fish stocks which are heavily stressed due to over fishing and pollution in coastal areas. The degree of interaction between aquaculture and the environment depends on the sensitivity of the ecosystem where it is implemented, on the culture system, and on the species. As a result of these interactions and of the growing public concern for the environmental problems, the choice of adequate sites for aquaculture activities is becoming more important.

In Albania, the impact of aquaculture on social conditions has not been studied sufficiently. In rural areas, in particular, its importance has been neglected. In addition, most of the rural coastal communities rely heavily on one activity (e.g., agriculture or traditional fisheries) that may be vulnerable to external financial inputs.

Site selection for aquaculture is probably one of the main factors that determines the feasibility and sustainability of aquaculture projects. However, the coastal zone in Albania is under pressure from many different competing activities, which may affect existing and future aquaculture operations.Competition for space is one of the most critical factors of the relationships between aquaculture and other activities. Fishing zones, spawning areas, nurseries, artificial reefs, access to harbours, military zones, land reclaiming, protected or reserved zones, dredging, recreative activities such as bathing, sailing or fishing may be submitted to regulations which limit the possibilities for selecting suitable areas for sea-based aquaculture. Land-based aquaculture systems interact naturally with all other developed activities on the seashore and especially with urbanization, industry, tourism and agriculture activities.

Economical facilities for aquaculture development are positively influenced by the attraction of investments and infrastructure (roads, electricity supply) connected with industry, urbanization and tourism. For example, in Saranda and Pogradec (Ohrid Lake) Regions, tourism could help the development of local markets for aquaculture products. Fishery activity in the vicinity of aquaculture also has a positive effect by providing feed for aquaculture and enhancing demand for aquaculture products.

Aquaculture development refers also to social constraints. Urbanization may involve new ways of living where fresh fish and shellfish consumption could be replaced by new standards of human nutrition (frozen and cooked products of high quality). The existing fishery education system in coastal areas (Durres, Vlora, Shengjin and Saranda) could have a positive effect for new aquaculturists. However, competition between aquaculturists and fishermen could arise, especially in low settlement areas, where transfers of employment from fishery to aquaculture occur and lead to social disturbance. Development of wildlife and seascape preservation may lead to major constraints on aquaculture development and social conflicts with local inhabitants and tourists. On the other hand, ecotourism provides mutual benefits between tourism activity, discovery of wildlife and aquaculture practices.

Currently, in Albania there are no identified conflicts between aquaculture and fisheries, either through the competition in the coastal area, or in the fish marketing and trade. This probably is because marine aquaculture is a new activity and it is concentrated in limited areas, particularly in the southern coast in Saranda. The greatest problem for aquaculture is fish (seabass and seabream) imported mainly from Greece, who compete with relatively low prices. In freshwater aquaculture, its development harmonizes and coordinates with artisanal fisheries, particularly due to the fact that fingerlings are used for restocking these waters. The fingerlings consist of carps, grass and plankton feeding species (for lakes and reservoirs) and Koran for Ohrid Lake.

In coastal zones, the pre-existing activities are protected by regulations at multinational level, through national plans at the municipality level. All these regulations present main constraints for the development of new activities such as aquaculture. The consumption of marine products was limited to some restricted areas (Durres, Tirana, Vlora, Saranda, etc.) and fewmarine fish species). Development of aquaculture (finfish or shellfish) enhanced the consumption of new products and correlatively is contributing to the implementation of new ways of marketing and creation of networks for the commercialization of marine products in Tirana and neighbouring ports. New aquaculture techniques need qualified skills, provided by special training courses. This education system could benefit the marine workers (fishermen, traditional aquaculturists) which is currently absent in Albania. However, in places where manpower is lacking, competition between different activities could occur by transfer of employment from one to the other.

6. References

AEDA (Albanian Economic Development Agency) (1998) La creazione e lo sviluppo di un'impresa economica in Albania.

Carleton C., Horstman, D. (2002) Building Albania's Fishery Economy.

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). (1995) Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries. Rome, FAO, 41p.

Flloko, A. (2002) Aquaculture in Albania. Eurofish Magazine, 2/2002.

Law No.7908 dated 05.04.1995 For Fishery and Aquaculture.

Law No.8870 dated 21.3.2002 on Amendments to Law No. 7908 dated 05/04/1995.

MAF (Albanian Ministry of Agriculture and Food). (1999) Aquaculture National Report.

MAF & Eastfish. (2000) The Fishery Industry in Albania.

MAF (2002) Albania WTO Membership and Impacts on Agricultural and Trade Policies.

MAF & WB (2002) Pilot Fishery Development Project.

NEA (National Environmental Agency) (1999) Convention on Biological Diversity.

NC Ltd. (Nautilus Consultants Ltd) (2001) - Albania Fisheries Development Project.

PHARE Programme Albania. (2001) Strategy for Albanian Lagoon Management.

PAP MAP-UNEP (1995) Albania Coastal Zone Management Plan.

Rakaj, N., Flloko, A. (1995) Iktiofauna e Shqiperise.

Regulation No.1 Dated 26.03.1997 for the application of the Fisheries and Aquaculture Law.

Annex 1. List of aquaculture licensed farms (active)

No.NameRegion/ districtPropertyCulture systemSurfaceProduction facilities
1Shoq. “Petraq Koçi”Sarande/KsamilPrivateSeabream and seabass1000m26 cages
2“Derveni” shpkSarande/KsamilPrivateSeabream and seabass300m28 cages
3“Bati-Sa” shpkSarande/GjiuBatiPrivateSeabream and seabass1000m212 cages
4“Marikom” shpkSarande/GjiuBatiPrivateSeabream and seabass400m28 cages
5“Bregdeti-Hi” shpkVlore/QeparoPrivateSeabream and seabass2800m24 cages
6“ Xhino” shpkVlore/KaraburunPrivateSeabream and seabass2000m28 cages
7“Vangjeli” shpkVlore/Raguza 2PrivateSeabream and seabass500m25 cages
8Mihallaq AndreaVlore/LimopuaPrivateSeabream and seabassnaearthen ponds
9Andon LesajLezhe/BeltojePrivateSeabream and seabass2 haearthen ponds
10Ek.pesh.fshati Tatzat-Del.Delvine/TatzatPrivateRainbow trout1000m2earthen ponds
11“Trofta-Bi” shpkDelvine/BistricePrivateRainbow trout450m2earthen onds
12Ek. Pesh.“Luca” shpkDelvine/TatzatPrivateRainbow trout500m2earthen ponds
13“Gjeto Pepaj” shpkM.Madhe/Tamare-KelmendPrivateRainbow trout200m2earthen ponds
14“Dash-peshk” shpkGjirokaster/KardhiqPrivateRainbow trout1500m24 earthen ponds
15Ek.pesh.“Trofta Lura Alb”shpkPeshkop/ArrasPrivateRainbow trout900m2earthen ponds
16Sokol ShtreziBulqize/Kavashice-ShupenzePrivateRainbow trout730m27 earthen ponds
17“ GO and Caj” shpkShkodra lake /ShirokePrivateC. carpna2 cages
18Ek.pesh Thane,Fier SheganLushnje/ThanePrivateC. carp1,4 haearthen ponds
19“Klosi” shpkElbasan/MollasPrivateCarps fingerlings11,3 haearthen ponds
20“Hydra” shpkTirane/LaknasPrivateCarps fingerlings6.2 haearthen ponds
21“7.P.” shpkFier/VidhishtPrivateCarps fingerlings7 haearthen ponds
22Ek.pesh.TushemishtPogradec/TushemishtPrivateKoran0,2haearthen ponds
23Liqeni i ButrintitSarande/ Butrinti lagoon17private unitsMusselsna18 trays
24“KAP Kavaja” shpkKavaje/KarpenItal-Alb J/VentureShrimps180 haearthen ponds
25Ndue VokrriLezhe/ShengjinPrivateMusselsna1 tray
26“Pelikani” shpkLushnje/DivjakePrivateMarine fishnaponds
27TapizeKruje / TapizePublic (FRI.Durres)Carps fingerlings3.1 haearthen ponds
28Lin (Ohrid lake)Pogradec/LinPublic (FRI.Durres)Koran fingerlings0.7 hatanks
29Zvezde (Prespa lake)Korce / ZvezdePublic (FRI.Durres)C. carp fingerlings3.6 haearthen ponds
30ZagorcanPogradec / GurrasPublic (FRI.Durres)C. carp fingerlings2.5 haearthen ponds

List of aquaculture farms (non-active)

No.NameRegion/districtPropertyCulture systemSurfaceProduction facilities
1GrizhaM. Madhe / DemirajPrivateCarps5.2 haearthen ponds
2VrakaShkoder / Shtoji R.PrivateCarps4.8 haearthen ponds
3ShtodriShkoder / MesUnder PrivatizationCarps6.5 haearthen ponds
4VauiDejesShkoder / Vau i DejesPrivateCarps3.8 haEarthen ponds
5Rec-PulajShkoder / RecPrivateCarps110 haearthen ponds
6ShtiqenKukes / ShtiqenUnder PrivatizationCarps12.haearthen ponds
7UrakeMat / UrakeUnder PrivatizationCarps15.haearthen ponds
8BalldrenLezhe/ BalldrenUnder PrivatizationCarps10.haearthen ponds
9DurresDurres / RrashbullUnder PrivatizationCarps115.haearthen ponds
10GurrasPogradec / GurrasUnder PrivatizationCarps8.haearthen ponds
11ToshkezLushnje / ToshkezPrivateCarps20.haearthen ponds
12IzvorVlore / OrikumPrivateCarps5.haearthen ponds
13BoboshticaKorce / BoboshticaUnder PrivatizationCarps20.haearthen ponds
14GoricanBerat / GoricanPrivateCarps3.5 haearthen ponds
15MavropullSarande / XarrëUnder PrivatizationCarps15.haearthen ponds
16DoftieGjirokaster / LibohovePrivateCarps10.haearthen ponds
17NartaVlore / PanajaPrivateShrimps200.haearthen ponds
18MuzineDelvine / MuzinePrivateConcrete0.2 haconcrete ponds
19Syri KalterDelvine / KronjgjPrivateConcrete1.haconcrete ponds
20VrionSarande / VrionPrivate-4.haraceways

Annex 2. Institutions involved in research activities on aquaculture

1. Fisheries Research InstituteDurres
2. Hydrometeorology InstituteTirane
3. Veterinary Research InstituteTirane
4. Agriculture University of TiranaTirane
5. Institute of Statistics (INSTAT)Tirane

Annex 3.

Map 1. The hydrological map of Albania

Map 1

Map 2. Inland waters: lakes, dams, and reservoirs

Map 2

Map 3. Aquaculture licensed farms (active)

Map 3

Map 4. Aquaculture farms (non-active)

Map 4

A Short short Overview overview of the Status status of Aquaculture aquaculture in Croatia

Vlasta Franicevic*

* Directorate of Fisheries, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry-Bartula Kašića 3, 23000 Zadar, Croatia. E-mail: [email protected]

1. General background

The Croatian coastline is 5 835 km long and has 1 185 islands making numerous protected sheltered bays and channels (Table 1). Its favourable climatic conditions and unpolluted environment provide great possibilities for mariculture activities.

Croatian mariculture predominantly includes the production of seabass (Dicentrarchus labrax)and seabream (Sparus aurata) in floating cages and bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) in offshore floating systems. Shellfish production is largely composed of black mussels (Mytilus galloprovincialis) and European flat oysters (Ostrea edulis) on long lines.

There is an ancient shellfish culture tradition in this area. The first records of shellfish culture in the Bay of Mali Ston (Republic of Dubrovnik) and the River Krka estuary go back to as far as the fifteen and seventeen centuries (Lorini, 1903). From the beginning of thislastcentury there have been more than one hundred sites on the East Adriatic coast where fish and shellfish have been cultured. Shellfish production hads been stable during the past few decades,but was interrupted as most production sites were directly affected by the recent war activities. Limiting factors for a more rapid revitalization after the war are the lower domestic market demand, and European Union (EU) import restrictions. As shell fish production has always been considered as a family business, transitional changes had no significant effects. Today there are more than one hundred small family farms that have now started to organize themselves in the various associations.

Today all shellfish production is concentrated in the Bay of Mali Ston, the River Krka estuary, and Istria.

About 25 years ago the first important experimental trials on marine fish farming commenced whit several fish species giving very promising results. In the early eighties commercial fish culture of seabass and seabream began in Croatia, making it one of the first countries in the Mediterranean to start aquaculture production. The first hatchery was built in Zadar, and at that time it was considered one of the largest in the Mediterranean. The first farm with floating cages was also constructed during the early eighties forming part of a government project. There was an significant annual increase on fish production, and that encouraged the construction of small family farms.During the nineties mariculture activities expanded rapidly and many small family farms have started based on private investments. This rapid expansion which was soon interrupted by the war activities. After the war production suffered from high production costs, expensive loans and credits, privatisation problems, and a weak domestic market,.Although still resulting in a very good quality, the product was expensive when reaching the EU markets. In 1998, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry saved fish production from a total collapse by introduction of new incentives. The big producers are now finishing in the process privatisation, but the small ones still do not recognize all the advantages of the associations.

Today production is organized mainly on the middle coastal islands.

Table 1. General background information on Croatia (2002) (Croatian National Bank,Croatian Bureau of Statistics).

Political boundaries:Slovenia, Hungary, Serbia and Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Internal administrative regions:20 counties
Climate:Continental, Mediterranean
Distribution:56% urban
Total land area:56610 km2
Total sea area:32200 km2
Coastline length:5835 km
Agricultural GDP:9%
GDP per caput :US$ 4640

Tuna production is a new activity created about six years ago in the Zadar area, by a few local people who had brought a basic technology from Australia. This activity is developing rapidly, and showed the first signs of stability during 2002.

2. Characteristics of the sector

Croatian mariculture includes the production of:

  1. seabass (Dicentrarchus labrax) and seabream (Sparus aurata),
  2. tuna (Thunus thynnus),
  3. mussel (Mytilus galloprovincialis) and oyster (Ostrea edulis).

Seabass and seabream are reared intensively in floating cages, in shore, or semi-offshore. There are five big fish farms with a production of of 200 to 800 t/year, and 40 small ones with a production of 10 to 100 t/year. There are four hatcheries producing five million fish fry per year, which is about 30 percent of the amount needed, and the remaining 70 percent is imported mainly from Italy and France.

Tuna is growing in semi-offshore floating cages. There are six farms, three of them producing more than 1000 tonnes of tuna per year. Due to the small-size of fish caught in the Adriatic Sea technology is changing. Today fish is no longer kept in cages just for a few months,but sometimes even for a period from 18 to 24 months. As fish for growing purposes is caught from a wild, about 40 percent of the catch comes from national waters and the rest is mainly imported from Italy, Spain and Tunisia.

Mussels and oysters are produced on long lines. Producers started to face the first problems with regard to seed availability, due to the uncontrolled harvesting during the war period.

Production data are given in Table 2.

Table 2. Production data for the last six years (t) (Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, unpublished data).

Bass and bream150017471750210025002500
Mussels and oysters790900110011113 0002500

3. National policy

Within the Development Strategy for Agriculture and Fisheries of the Republic of Croatia, (National Gazette 89/02) it was planned to increase mariculture production to 10 10000 t of fish (tuna not included) and 20 20000 tonnes of molluscs by the end of this decade. The requirements needed to reach planned production are approximately 25000 tonnes of fish feed, and 40 million peaces of sea bass and sea bream fingerlings (2–5 g) and several hundred million of shellfish spat per year.

The major priorities to achieve this goal are:

-   A clear national policy for mariculture needs to be developed, consisting of regulations and administrative procedures. This process has already been started, and a few new regulations have recently been established.

-   Zones for mariculture activities have to be defined by land-use planning followed by ecological studies and continuous monitoring to make the project compatible to the existing and planned activities in the coastal areas. The Directorate of Fisheries, in collaboration with other ministries, has commenced a project ““Coastal Zone Management Plan“”(CZMP) with particular focus on mariculture.

-   Financial institutions should be encouraged by an official long-term strategy to support mariculture activities by establishing acceptable loans. with reasonable interest facilities. The Directorate of Fisheries has urged the banks to offer such loans to the farmers, based on clear and sustainable programmes.

-   National reproduction centres should be established to produce a sufficient quantity of autochthon fish fry, which is fundamental for the recognition of “Croatian quality products”. The legislation came into force recently and it is to be expected that the incentives to encourage farmers to keep broodstock animals will be introduced in a very short time. A national programme is under construction.

-   Mariculture has to be integrated into rural development, especially on the islands, so to contribute to the social policy and to encourage family businesses in fish and shellfish production.

-   Technology has to be improved and education and training is needed. Cooperation between researchers, administrators and producers also needs to be improved.

-   A promotional and marketing strategy for mariculture products has to be undertaken to reduce trade barriers and give these products the adequate added value.

There is no unique legislation that regulates all the rights and obligations for mariculture producers. Several ministries and government agencies come under this legislation. Officials in national governmental agencies cover the largest part of the administrative supervision over mariculture, while only a smaller part comes under county management.

In order to possess a licence a concession has to be obtained.The use of maritime resources requires a marine resource concession which is issued by the County for a period of up to 12 years, by the Government for period of up to 30 years, and by the Parliament for a period of over 30 years (Maritime Code).

There are several parameters that have to be fulfilled to obtain a location licence (Regulation on criteria for suitability of a section of a maritime estate for the activities of rearing of fish and other marine organisms).

Fish farms that produce more than 50 tonnes per year are under obligation to have an Environmental Impact Assessment Study (EIAS) prepared by the authorized institution which is capable of undertaking a continuous monitoring programme of mariculture (Nature Protection Act).

Producers are also obliged to receive confirmation regarding the level of education, issued by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry(Regulation on examination programmes for rearing activities).

All facilities with producing goods for the market are obliged to have the HACCAP Programme incorporated in order to obtain quality control and protection (Regulation on veterinary-sanitary terms to be met by installations for rearing, production and marketing of fish and fisheries products, and for crustaceans and their products).

There are also special veterinary requirements for the production, collection and marketing of shellfish (Regulation on veterinary-sanitary terms for fishing, culturing, purification and trading of live shellfish).

A mariculture producer requires a special licence for final registration, which is issued by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (Regulation on licence for rearing of fish and other marine organisms).

4. Production and market

Fish markets in Croatia are not well organized, therefore there are no special collecting and distributing centers for mariculture products. Fish and shellfish are often sold directly to consumers (restaurants, hotels), which makes the record of actual national fish production statistics very difficult. to record.There are no promotional marketing activities, which could make these products more popular between the local population.

The main market for mariculture products is in Italy. Due to the constant increase of the total Mediterranean production, the price has decreased to less than a third to what it was 15 years ago. Seabass and seabream have the EU quota for imports of 550 and 35 t / year respectively.

Due to the EU import barriers, the complete shellfish production is sold on the domestic market. As the necessary monitoring has recently been completed, the EU Commission was expected to finalize all procedures by the end of 2003 and to start export to the EU markets by the beginning of 2004.

Thanks to the revitalization of tourism and the increasing demand for sea products, the domestic markets have become very attractive providing the possibility to obtain much higher prices than on the European market.

Per caput consumption of seafood in Croatia is only 8 kg per year. Due to disorganized trading, the final price is usually unreasonably high. The best quality fish is sold directly to hotels and restaurants, which results in a poor offer to the market. Aquaculture products are very often the best quality fish offered on the market. These products are still not properly recognized and accepted by domestic customers.

The export of seabass and seabream is restricted by the EU quota. More than 90 percent of the exported products are sent to Italy, the remaining 10 percent to Slovenia, Austria, Germany, SR Yugoslavia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, France and Spain. Fingerlings are not exported. There is an insignificant import of market size seabass and seabream, coming exclusively from Italy. Import of bass and bream fry is almost twice that of the national production. About 80 percent is imported from Italy, and the rest from France and Greece (Croatian Chamber of Economy, unpublished data).

Due to EU restrictions the total shellfish production is sold on the domestic market. There is an insignificant imported, 80 percent from Spain, and the rest from Italy and Chile (Croatian Chamber of Economy, unpublished data).

The total tuna production is exported to Japan. Due to the restricted national quota for tuna fishing, and also to the fact that there are no giant tunas in the Adriatic Sea, about 50 percent of tuna for farming purposes is imported from Italy, Spain and Tunisia (Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, unpublished data).

The total fisheries export and import data for 2002 are shown in Table 3.

Table 3. Total fisheries export and import data for 2002 (Croatian Chamber of Economy, unpublished data).

 Import (tonnes)Import ($US)Export (tonnes)Export ($US)
Total agriculture and food products1 398 468999 777 4172 073 319557 951 907
Fisheries*51 93665 668 62111 63061 587 853

* Includes catch, processing and culture in fresh and sea waters

Fisheries (includes catch, processing and culture in fresh and sea waters) import makes 3.71 percent of the total agriculture and food import in quantity, and while the value is 6.65 percent in value. With respect to export, however, it makes only 0.56 percent in quantity, but 11.03 percent in value. The biggest part of this high value comes from export of farmed tuna (Croatian Chamber of Economy, unpublished data).

At present, there are no existing eco-labelling certifications for seafood products. A new legislation has come into force and some producers have started registration procedures. Due to the high ecological quality of seawater in almost total Croatian mariculture area, it is expected that many producers will obtain eco-labelling certification with no significant changes in the technology applied. New incentives have been introduced by the

Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry to stimulate ecological production of seafood. The responsible agencies are the Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) officially recognized by the government.

5. Relationship with capture fisheries

As mariculture activities have rapidly expanded during the last five years, mainly due to tuna farming, competition with other coastal area users has increased. The main competitor is tourism, followed by the local fishing communities. The Directorate of Fisheries has recognized this problem and its strategic determination is to integrate mariculture into the physical planning activities in Croatian coastal countries. To obtain this goal the project CZMP (Coastal Zone Management Plan) commenced in 2002. This project should develop the guidelines for the sustainable development of aquaculture in coastal zones in harmony with other coastal area users.

The Croatian National Monitoring Programme “Jadran” which covers research and monitoring of the aquaculture areas regarding its ecological effects, did not show any serious or irreversible changes in the ecosystem, or in the cultured fish health status (unpublished data).

There is no market competition between cultured seafood and capture fisheries. Capture fisheries products obtain higher prices, sometimes even if the quality is poorer due to bad handling of the product. Mariculture products coming to the market are regularly of high quality; due to the technology applied and proper handling of the product. Very often mariculture products are sold in hotels and restaurants as captured fish.

6. References and web addresses

Lorini, P.,(1903)) Fishing and Fishing Gears on the East Adriatic Coast. Vienna. Croatian Chamber of Economy Croatian Bureau of Statistics Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries Croatian National Bank Croatia in general

Annex 1. Aquaculture Farms (registered by the Directorate of Fisheries*)

1. Medi and Co d.o.o.StonUvala Žuronjaoysters
2. Ljiljana BebekStonStupicaoysters
3. Mato LedinićDubrovnikUvala Sutvidoysters
4. Ante MekišićLuka-StonBjejavicaoysters
  Punta Nedjelja 
5. Niko MaškarićDoli, ZamaslinaZa puntzumussels, oysters
6. Mirko Dassena, “Marcanela”Vabriga, I.Kontrade 34Rt Saline-Rt Busulamussels
7. Milovan LabinacVabriga, Ribarska 5Rt Solinemussels, oysters
8. Ivan ZupičićTrget, Brgod 61Zaljev Budavamussels, oysters
  Raški zaljev 
9. Dragan PejićLabinRaško zaljevmussels, oysters
  Raški zaljev 
10. Mario Lovrinov “Daniel-L”Pula, Ušići dvori 189bUvala Valmižejamussels
  Zaljev Valunmussels
  Školjić pomerskimussels
11. Vesna Alviž, “Angul”RaslinaJZ od rta Sv.Josip u
Prokljanskom tjesnacu
12. Roman LokasRaslina, ZatonUvala Ljutamussels
13. Šime Gulan, “Maestral”PirovacUvala Vrilomussels
14. Duško Gulin, “Manga”ŠibenikJI od rta Arasovomussels
15. Mytilus d.o.o.ŠibenikRt Nova Poštamussels
  Uvala Strmica 
16. Iglun komerc d.o.o.PosedarjeUvala Prdelj, N. moremussels
17. Marituna d.d.Gaženica b.b., Zadar tuna
18. Adriatic tuna d.o.o.Zadar, Gaženica bbMali i Srednji otok, otok Ižtuna
19. Brač tuna d.o.o.Milna, otok BračUvala Smrkatuna
20. Drvenik tuna d.o.o.Marina, A.Rudana 47Uvala Mala luka - Drvenik velikituna
21. Jadran tuna d.o.o.Biograd na moru, P.Svačića 29SZ od otoka Borovniktuna
  J od otoka Vrgadatuna
22. Kali tuna d.o.o.Kaliotok Fulijatuna
  otok Kudica 
23. Tome Erak, “Marikultura”MurterJI od uvale Prosikabass, bream
mussels, oysters
24. Marimirna d.d.Rovinj, G.Paliage 4Limski kanalbass, bream,
mussels, oysters
25. Anita Mudronja, “Lubin”Šibenik, KaprijeUvala Lukabass, bream
26. Malo more d.o.o.SplitZap. od otoka Tajanbass, brem
27. Adria octopus d.o.o.Biograd na moru, A. Šenoe 9N od otočića Žižanjbass, bream
28. Blitvenica d.o.o.Filip-Jakov, TuranjProkljanski tjesnacbass, bream
29. Badioli i Maksan d.o.o.Pakoštane, Ob.K.P.Krešimira 64V. i M. Školjić, o.Vrgadabass, bream
30. Convento albamaris d.o.o.Biograd na moru, A. Šenoe 9Nod otočića Žižanjbass, bream,
31. Bisage-nit d.o.o.KaliOtočić Bisagebass, bream
32. Cenmar d.d.Zadar, Trg tri bunara 5Uvala Zaglavićbass, bream
  Otočić Golac 
  Otočić Košara 
  Veliki Školj 
33. Dumboka-mar d.o.o.SaliUvala Dumbokabass, bream
34. Esso grande d.o.o.Veli IžUvala Vela Svežabass, bream
35. Limbora d.o.o.Tkonotok Žižanjbass, bream
mussels, oysters
  otok Žižanj 
36. Martinović-fish d.o.o.Zadar, Poljanska 4Uvala Kablinbass, bream
37. Per-marZadarUvala Vičija bok,Ravabass, bream
38. Skrajno, d.o.o.P.P.6, Veli IžOtočić Glurovićbass, bream
39. Solana Pag d.d.,PagUvala Dinjiškabass, bream
40. Salmo-trota d.o.o.Rijeka, Vinogradska 30Uvala Žrnovnicasalmon, trout
mussels, oysters
41. Ante Dragoslavić, “More”Veli LošinjUvala Kaldontabass, bream
42. Sardina d.d.Postira, otok BračUvala Maslinovabass, bream
43. Agrimar d.o.o.Kaštel Stari, Žrtava rata 27Uvala Stipanskabass, bream
44. Sajtija d.o.o.ŠoltaUvala Vela lukabass, bream
45. Uvala Vlaška, d.o.o.Split, B.Jelačića 1Uvala Vlaškabass, bream
46. Miani-Giovanelli-Vuljan d.o.o.Metković, Z. i Frankopana 89Uvala Mritnovikbass, bream
47. Ratko Klisović, “Klismar” d.o.o.SplitUvala Pelešbass, bream
48. Rudan and Co d.o.o.Lovište, Lovište 57Uvala Vela Bezdijabass, bream
mussels, oysters
49. PZ KorijenMljet, Zabrežje bbUvala Sobrabass, bream

* As the regulations regarding licences came into force in 2002, there are some farms (mostly shellfish farms) which until 31 March 2003 had still not applied for a licence.

Annex 2. Institutions Involved in Aquaculture Research Activities

Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries, Split
Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries, Dubrovnik
Ruđer Bošković Institute, Zagreb
Ruđer Bošković Institute, Rovinj

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