Wednesday, 14 July 2021

Croatia Increases Sea-Fish Catch and Production

ZAGREB, 14 July, 2021 - Croatia increased the catch and production of sea fish and other marine organisms by 9% in 2020 compared with the previous year, while the value of fisheries rose by 10.4%, according to provisional data from the Croatian Bureau of Statistics.

The increase in the value of fisheries was due to the 11.6% rise in the value of sea fisheries, which in turn was driven by the 10.3% increase in sales.

A total of 66,535 tonnes of pelagic fish were sold last year, which is 7,054 tonnes more than in 2019, while the value of pelagic fish sold rose by 13.7% to HRK 518.2 million.

Also sold were 18,321 tonnes of other fish, their value reaching HRK 774.8 million, up by 13.5% compared with 2019.

The number of fishermen engaged in maritime fishing in 2020 fell by 0.4% to 6,582, and the number of fishing vessels decreased by 0.8% to 7,555.

The provisional data also show that the total production of freshwater fish in 2020 declined by 14.7% to 2,644 tonnes.

(€1 = HRK 7.48)

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Wednesday, 14 October 2020

Adriatic Sea Flourishes In 2020 As Waters Replenish

October 14, 2020 – Whales, dolphins and shrimp have returned to Croatian waters in greater numbers than in living memory as the Adriatic sea flourishes in 2020's quieter season

For obvious reasons, it's been an extraordinary year for everyone. Much of the news to report hasn't been the happiest. But, even in times of crisis, it's still possible to find reasons to optimistic and thankful.

In 2020, more tourists than in previous seasons have stayed away from Croatia's shoreline. However, their absence has been filled, in part, by a remarkable return of sea life. The Adriatic sea flourishes in 2020 with mammals, fish and crustaceans.

Dolphins are a wonderful sight to catch around the Croatian coast at any time, but not a great surprise – dolphins enjoy the fish-filled, crystal clear Adriatic as much as we all do. But the large whales spotted in Croatian waters this summer are quite uncommon.

Screenshot (40).pngDolphins filmed swimming near Ugljan island earlier this year as the Adriatic sea flourishes in 2020. You can find a link to this dolphin video above © Youtube screenshot

Researchers from the Blue World Institute are now sure that two separate whales have inhabited the Velebit Channel between August and October this year with at least one, if not both, still remaining in the area.

Of course, the wholly negative way of explaining their appearance would be to blame the uncommon occurrences on global warming. But, things may not be so clear cut. Less sailing, fewer pollutants and much fewer cruise ships in the Adriatic this year may well have made the area more inviting for the large mammals.

Key to a whale's desired place of dwelling is the food available to them. While the strict lockdown witnessed early this year struck a heavy blow on Croatia's fish markets and, in turn, the country's fishing industry, the fall in prices, the lack of demand and the reduction in fishing allowed the Adriatic to replenish.

Nadine Doerlé.jpgCrustaceans have also benefitted from a fallow year. Split fisherman Antonio Šunjić told Slobodna Dalmacija he sees an explosion in Croatia waters of shrimp numbers as the Adriatic sea flourishes in 2020 © Nadine Doerlé

In an interview with Tanja Šimundić Bendić in Slobodna Dalmacija on 10th October 2020, Antonio Šunjić, the first man of the fishermen's guild of Split and Split-Dalmatia County gave first-hand witness. He attested to an increase in tuna number (a favourite of the whales) this year. He also sees an explosion in shrimp population as the Adriatic sea flourishes in 2020.

Those who have long grown from and fed off the land know well how to look after their most precious commodity – farmers leave some fields fallow during a whole season, sowing no seeds for a year so that the ground may rest and fertility return. The fallow period the Adriatic has experienced in 2020 may deliver much greater long-term wealth than the temporary inconveniences caused by this extraordinary season.

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Saturday, 9 March 2019

EU Funds for Croatia's Island Fishermen and Fish Processors

Through the Maritime and Fisheries Operational Program, the amount of 234.9 million kuna was agreed for 635 users for their projects on seventeen islands in Croatia, while the amount of 176.7 million kuna was paid to as many as 570 beneficiaries.

As Morski writes on the 8th of March, 2019, the largest amount of beneficiaries of contracted and paid funds are on the island of Ugljan, where as much as 27 percent of the total contracted funds for beneficiaries on the islands have been contracted. Given the large number of fishermen on the island of Ugljan, particularly in Kali, the measures that have been taken relate to (among other things) health and safety and energy efficiency on fishing vessels, as well as an additional measure aimed at improving the conditions for product placement on the market, thus achieving a higher price for the products themselves.

''Our fishermen, fish farmers and [fish] processors are well acquainted with the opportunities the Operational Program for Maritime and Fisheries provides, and that has also been confirmed by the growth of the available funds [for this sector] over the last two years. Since the beginning of the implementation of the Maritime and Fisheries Operational Program, a total of 42 tenders have been issued to date, of which 34 have been during the mandate of this government. So far, 47.27 percent of the allocation, or 1.2 billion kuna, has been contracted, and almost 600 million kuna has been paid,'' said the minister of agriculture, Tomislav Tolušić.

Investment on the island Brač is set to occur immediately after the investment on Ugljan. On the other fifteen islands, most of the investments have been directed towards fishing and measures related to it, examples of that are Hvar, Dugi Otok and Cres.

There is also investment occurring in the field of energy-efficient heating and cooling systems in construction facilities for fish processing, as opposed to outdated ''classic'' systems (fossil fuel systems). Money will also be pumped into improving business processes by acquiring new IT equipment and more modern business management software.

Within the Croatian Maritime Operational Program for the Programming Period 2014-2020, 348.7 million euro (252.6 million euro from the EU budget and 96.1 million euro from the budget of the Republic of Croatia) have been made available.

These funds are extremely important to Croatia's fishing sector and as such meets their very specific needs over the aforementioned time period. Within the operational program, in cooperation with all interested stakeholders from scientific institutions, local and regional self-government units, state institutions and entities from the fisheries sector, 36 different measures were covered for the entire sector, from sea and freshwater catches and farming, to the processing and eventual marketing of fish products, to producer organisations and FLAGs.

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Monday, 4 March 2019

Are EU Rules Limiting the Traditional Lives and Work of Croatian Fishermen?

It goes without saying that the EU has more positives than it does negatives, at least for most countries, but what of its ultra-stringent rules when it comes to fishing policies? Dalmatian and Istrian fishermen have some vastly different experiences when it comes to carrying out the task at hand, but they share one thing in common - EU rules seem to be unfairly pushing Croatian fishermen towards tourism and away from fishing, making a workforce more and more difficult to come across, and to keep hold of.

''In 1998, I asked some of my elders how I should distribute my earnings. They said: Fifty percent goes to the company, fifty percent goes to the crew. I still stick to those rules today, I've never deviated from them, so I don't have any problems with my crew,'' says fisherman Ante Juran from Vrsar.

As Morski writes on the 3rd of March, 2019, while fishermen in Istria have managed to keep their heads above water (no pun intended) for now, some alarming data has arrived from down south in Dalmatia, some boat owners are complaining that they can't find fishermen to work for them for love nor money. In Tribunj in Šibenik-Knin County, claims suggest that as many as ''fifty fishermen'' are missing. The crews are difficult to find, meaning that more often than not, there is an unskilled labour force working on the ships, compiled with people from all parts of Croatia simply looking for employment, and there is also a workforce from neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia present.

The media say that one Ugljan entrepreneur invested 2.9 million euros in a new fishing vessel, and is now "desperately seeking twenty fishermen'' to work on board. It has been claimed that nobody will fish even for a guaranteed wage of one thousand euros per month, at least according to a report from Glas Istre. Is that possible? In these paradoxical times - probably.

In Istria, everyone is reluctant to talk about the matter, but they all solemnly confirm that there are less and less available fishermen wanting to work, that is, there is no qualified or even unskilled labour willing to go fishing on these vessels. Vessels specifically built for ''commercial'' fishing are plagued by this issue. Only one such boat can be seen along the Rovinj coast, other places are occupied primarily boats that take tourists back and forth in the summer. Robert Momić, chair of the fishermen's guild at the Croatian Chamber of Trades and Crafts, says that the EU's often highly stringent rules don't leave much leg room, and they actively encourage fishing boat owners to focus mainly on tourism, leaving fishermen with little choice but to stray from this traditional industry, too.

''The system limits the fishing trade and more and more fishermen are finding that real profit lies in the transport of tourists. It's easier to make money driving tourists around to record how dolphins jump around in the open sea than to fish with respect to quotas and various other restrictions. The EU's operational programs should help fishermen stay at sea, and this doesn't go without boosting investment in new ships. Given the restrictive measures, there are fewer fishing days and, consequently, it's harder to pay workers and to keep up with tax obligations properly. One thing is certain: The fishing industry remembers better days, in today's legal environment, only big fishing vessels (ships of about thirty feet in length) can make money and offer decent salaries to each crew member, and a large vessel like that requires an average of nine crew members. The problem with us in Istria is that this season coincides with the height of the tourist season, when it's even more difficult to find crew members,'' says Robert Momić.

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Click here for the original article by Ello Velan for Glas Istre

Saturday, 3 November 2018

Croatian Fishermen Given Welcome EU Exemptions

Croatian fishermen will have their lives and their work made much easier owing to the approval of exemptions for fishing with certain traditional methods, including the use of tow nets, which were formerly banned upon Croatia's entry into the European Union.

As Morski writes on the 2nd of November, 2018, according to the Official Gazette of the European Union, the derogations which Croatia applied for, which provide for exemptions from the provisions of the EU's Mediterranean Decree for Croatian fishermen operating in Croatian waters, have finally been officially approved.

With the publishing these documents, a multi-annual process, during which the Republic of Croatia applied for exemption from the provisions of the Mediterranean Decree, which prevented the use of certain fishing tools in a traditional way, has been completed, reported the Ministry of Agriculture.

This very welcome outcome was preceded by scientific research and the collection of arguments for exemptions for Croatian fishermen which were formulated in a management plan. These management plans, together with the derogations, were actually approved over the winter, but only with the publication of the implementing of these regulations does it become possible to implement them effectively into national legislation.

Fishing will take place according to the strict rules that had to be met, and continue to need to be met for the approval of the desired derogations. This move will not lead to an increase in fishing in general, nor will it negatively impact or cause any additional threat to coastal resources, habitats, or certain species of fish, but it will ensure the continuation of fishing with the use of former methods, in the manner and to the extent at which it stood before Croatia's accession to the EU.

Although the process of obtaining these derogations for Croatian fishermen was an extremely complex process in itself, this much anticipated outcome once again enables the legal work of more than 100 fishing vessels which do use fishing nets. It also enables the retaining of traditional fishing gear and fishing methods which have been present on the Croatian part of the Adriatic sea for decades. Their recognition in European Union legislation will now become official.

''Those who know the fishing [industry] know how much work has gone into obtaining these exemptions and how much harmony and cooperation was needed for us to fight for our traditions, our heritage, and our lifestyle. This is the best example of how strong we are together and how much we care about preserving our values. This outcome is down to everyone who has been working on it for years,'' stated Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Agriculture Tomislav Tolušić.

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Thursday, 26 January 2017

University of Zadar Approves 3m Kuna EU Project for "Blue Education"

The department of Ecology, Agronomy and Aquaculture at the University of Zadar and its partners for the project "Blue Education for Sustainable Management of Aquatic Resources - BLUE SMART" has passed EU co-financing from the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) in the competition: "Blue Careers in Europe". The total project value is €399,493.00, and the approved EU funds amount to €319,593.00, or 80%.

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