FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia

North Macedonia’s membership in European commission will boost sustainable aquaculture

©FAO/Franc Zhurda


North Macedonia has joined the European Inland Fisheries and Aquaculture Advisory Commission (EIFAAC) of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) as it 37th member. Ljupcho Nikolovski, the Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Water Economy of the Republic of North Macedonia, informed QU Dongyu, FAO Director-General, about the decision.

The Macedonian inland fisheries and aquaculture sector is small but important for the country, with a fish production of around 2 500 tonnes per year. The aquaculture production of primarily trout and carp species takes place in ponds, rivers, and lakes. The Ministry has a target to double the aquaculture production by 2030 to increase domestic food security in line with the National Strategy for Agriculture and Rural Development 2021–2027 and the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (2018–2023).

“Although North Macedonia is a landlocked country with no access to the sea, aquaculture and freshwater fisheries have increasingly become an important source of income and employment,” Minister Nikolovski commented. “We are honored to become a member of the EIFAAC family along with the other 36 countries. The membership provides an excellent opportunity to benefit from regional projects on inland fisheries and aquaculture, access to knowledge and scientific advice, and transfer of aquaculture technologies and innovations.”

“North Macedonia became member of FAO in 1993 and has been actively collaborating since then on many subjects, such as the transformation of the food and agriculture sector to ensure more resilience and sustainability,” highlighted Nabil Gangi, FAO Deputy Regional Representative.

North Macedonia’s United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework 2021–2025 includes “Climate action, natural resources and disaster risk management” among its priorities. The Commission’s expertise could help the country with sustainable development, use, conservation, restoration and responsible management of inland fisheries and aquaculture.

“Innovating the aquaculture sector to increase its aquatic food production and to make the sector more resilient to the challenges of climate change is a priority for the country,” said Lidija Popandonova, Permanent Representative of North Macedonia to FAO. She added that she expects that EIFAAC’s experts will help to enhance the technological capacity of the North Macedonian aquaculture businesses to produce fish in a sustainable manner and to restock natural waters with indigenous species.

In the coming years, the 37 members of the Commission will, among others, collaborate to promote innovation and digitalization, and strengthen rural livelihoods, as well as to support sustainable natural resources management and facilitate resilience in the food and agriculture sectors. Ultimately, the work of the European Inland Fisheries and Aquaculture Advisory Commission will contribute to addressing food insecurity and reducing all forms of malnutrition.

EIFAAC was established as a regional fishery body by the FAO Council in 1957 and has been an important intergovernmental forum for collaboration and information exchange on inland fisheries and aquaculture among all European countries. The next session of EIFAAC will be hosted by the Government of Croatia in 2024. The EIFAAC Management Committee, Technical and Scientific Committee, Members and the Secretariat all welcome North Macedonia as new member and look forward to developing a strong relationship with the country on inland fisheries and aquaculture subjects. 


2 June 2023 Skopje, North Macedonia