La pêche continentale

Commercial inland fishing in member countries of the European Inland Fisheries Advisory Commission (EIFAC): Operational environments, property rights regimes and socio-economic indicators

Overview of inland fisheries

The aim of this report is to shortly describe some important aspects of commercial inland fishing in each of the 33 member countries of the European Inland Fisheries Advisory Commission (EIFAC), a Regional Fishery Body of FAO. Emphasis is on lake and river fisheries, but estuary and lagoon fisheries have also been included when relevant data were available to the authors. Information presented in this report is to some extent an update of EIFAC Technical Paper No. 52 (1990) and Suppl. (1993), Inland fisheries of Europe, by Dill, as well as FAO Fisheries Report No. 509, Suppl. 1 (1995), Review of inland fisheries and aquaculture in the EIFAC area by subregion and subsector. However, the focus here is on professional capture fisheries, with the purpose of having a clear distinction from both recreational fisheries and aquaculture. For the preparation of this report, information on the socio-economics of commercial inland fishing in EIFAC member countries was collected and assessed mainly using available internet information sources: institutional and governmental statistical reports, scientific articles and reviews. In addition, two short questionnaires were sent to EIFAC correspondents with the aim to get a more detailed picture from member countries. Data collection (mainly from statistics on licenses and landings) targeted only professional capture fisheries and therefore excluded recreational fisheries and aquaculture where possible. However, for some countries there was difficulty in obtaining socio-economic data specifically on commercial inland fishing, in which case the available information was presented as described in the source. Each country profile is structured in a similar way. Countries with reportedly no or little available commercial inland fishery statistics, or those not providing such data within the time frame of completion of this report, have been shortly commented on utilizing the information available.

The profiles range from two to five pages in length and include the following sections (with respect to commercial inland fishing):
1. Inland waters and commercial fishing areas
2. Administration and legislation
3. Ownership and access
4. Employment
5. Catches and important species
6. Current status and future trends

Information presented in this report shows that the operational environment of commercial inland fisheries varies between EIFAC member countries, especially regarding the availability and accessibility of fishing waters. The main socio-economic indicators of commercial inland fishing (employment and catch) are most important at the local or regional level. Data collected in this report indicate that the current 33 EIFAC member countries have a total of approximately 30 000 commercial inland fishers with an annual catch of around 90 000 tonnes. However, different sources of information weaken interannual comparability of produced figures. They also typically reflect only declared catches; the extent of unreported or illegal catches is usually not accounted for. Socio-economic issues that have influenced the present state of commercial inland fisheries in EIFAC member countries include political and institutional reforms (e.g. membership in the EU) and competing interests for inland water management. Following the changes from 1989 and onwards in the economy and market structures in countries of Eastern Europe, decentralisation and market shifts have had some major impacts on the conditions and prospects for creating or developing sustainability in the inland commercial fisheries. In some of the Mediterranean countries there has been a strong emphasis on inland water management for other uses than fisheries (e.g. irrigation, hydropower and domestic water supply). Trends affecting the future socio-economic viability of commercial inland fisheries in EIFAC member countries include the increasing importance of other growing sectors (e.g. recreational fisheries and aquaculture), declining fish catches, poorly developed markets and continued environmental degradation in many areas.