Final fishing quotas for 2021 have been approved following a cabinet meeting Thursday. Sprat and herring make up the bulk of the quota allowances.
Environment minister Tõnis Mölder (Center) said: "All last year's agreements concerning professional and recreational fishermen have been approved as of today. This means that last year's surpluses have been transferred to this year, and the fishing quotas to be set are now final."
Estonia chairs the Baltfish organization, a regional fisheries forum hosting representatives of Baltic region member states, which is in turn part of the Fisheries Secretariat, a Stockholm-based independent, apolitical non-profit aimed at maritime ecosystems protection.
Baltfish agreed its quotas in December; Estonia's quota of 55,000 tonnes (of pelagic fish – meaning those fish found mainly offshore, but not on or near the seabed – ed.) is down 2,500 on year, mainly due to natural factors such as weather and breeding.
Thursday's announcement EU-level agreements in place from the beginning of the year, on fishing in the Baltic and North Atlantic, as well as freshwater fishing on Peipsi Järv.
The latter comes in an agreement with the Russian Federation, agreed in November last year and also covering Lämmijärv and Pihkva Järv, part of the same lake system, some of whose waters lie in Estonian territory.
Pikeperch quotas on Peipsi Järv are divided equally into two six-month periods, mainly to avoid incidental catches of the fish during autumn, when most demersal fishing (bottom feeders – ed.) takes place.
The total reported figures under the 2021 quota are:
- Herring (Baltic herring are a smaller sub-species of the Atlantic variety) – 29,000 tonnes.
- Sprat (several varieties of fish belonging to the Sprattus genus) – 25,539 tonnes.
- Shrimp, cod, Greenland halibut and other North Atlantic fish – 15,000-20,000 tonnes.
- Common Bream (Peipsi Järv) – c. 1,200 tonnes.
- Pikeperch, also known as Sander (Peipsi Järv) – c. 560 tonnes.
- European perch (Peipsi Järv) – c. 500 tonnes.
Increases have been seen in sprat quotas, by a few hundred tonnes, while the quota permissible for herring fishing in the Gulf of Riga stands at an all-time high of 18,300 tonnes, BNS reports.
Editor: Andrew Whyte