Finland’s commercial marine fishery catch amounted to 112 million kilos in 2020, being 23 million kilos lower than in the year before. The catch mainly consisted of Baltic herring and sprat caught offshore by means of trawling. In coastal areas, fishermen mainly deployed gillnets and traps. Both offshore and coastal fishery catches decreased.
According to the statistics of the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), last year’s Baltic herring catch was slightly over 92 million kilos, being 20 million kilos lower than in the year before. The sprat catch also decreased to 12.5 million kilos. Overall, 95% of Finland’s Baltic herring quota was utilised, while the sprat quota was reached in full.
“One fifth of the commercial marine catch was landed at the fishing port of Kasnäs in Kemiö. Catches were also landed in other countries, mainly at ports in Estonia and Sweden. One fifth of the Baltic herring catch and more than half of the sprat catch were landed abroad. One quarter of the Baltic herring catch landed in Finland was used in food production, whereas the sprat catch was mainly used as feed,” says Pirkko Söderkultalahti, senior statistician at Luke.
The key species in coastal fishing were European whitefish (0.4 million kilos), perch (0.7 million kilos), vendace (0.3 million kilos), salmon (0.2 million kilos) and pikeperch (0.2 million kilos). Catches of European whitefish, pikeperch and salmon were low compared with the long-term average (1980–2020), while perch and vendace had larger catches than in the past.
The value of the catch was EUR 30 million, calculated on the basis of the producer prices excluding taxes. Financially the most important species was Baltic herring (EUR 19.2 million), followed by sprat, European whitefish, perch, smelt, pikeperch and salmon.
Price of Baltic herring intended for human consumption remained high, price of farmed fish decreased
The producer price of Baltic herring intended for human consumption remained high in 2020 like in the previous year, being EUR 0.32 per kilo.
The price of Baltic herring intended for human consumption depends on the size of fish, and particularly the price of larger Baltic herring, which is material for fillets and smoked herring, remained high. The price of industrial Baltic herring used as feed (EUR 0.19 per kilo) increased slightly from the previous year.
The prices of the most important species in coastal fishing decreased or remained roughly the same as in the year before. The prices of wild-caught salmon (EUR 6.13 per kilo) and perch (EUR 2.36 per kilo) remained at the previous year’s level, while the producer prices of pikeperch (EUR 5.93 per kilo) and pike (EUR 2.05 per kilo) decreased slightly compared to the year before. The prices of European whitefish (EUR 5.04 per kilo) and burbot (EUR 5.58 per kilo) caught at sea increased from 2019.
The price of farmed rainbow trout (EUR 4.50 per kilo) continued to decrease. Furthermore, the price of farmed European whitefish decreased from the previous year’s record-high figures to EUR 10.32 per kilo.
“Financially, rainbow trout is the most important fish species farmed in Finland. In 2020, the coronavirus pandemic reduced the prices of Norwegian salmon, affecting the producer prices of farmed fish in Finland,” says research scientist Antti Takolander.
The number of active fishermen decreasing
The register of commercial fishermen included 2,276 commercial fishermen in sea areas and 3,352 fishing vessels at the end of 2020. In recent years, the number of registered commercial fishermen and fishing vessels has increased as a cause of the stricter registration requirement set out in the new 2015 Fishing Act. Instead, the number of active fishermen who are actually landing fish for the markets has decreased. Last year 1,150 fishermen reported catches, which is nearly half of the corresponding figure at the beginning of the 2000s. Some 40% of the registered fishing vessels were operated in commercial fishing.
The number of fishing days, that is taking into account the number of fishing days and the quantity of gear, describes the level of fishing effort in commercial marine fishery. During the 2000s, the number of trap fishing and trawling days has halved and that of gillnet fishing has decreased to one third, while hook and line fishing has almost stopped altogether.
Background to the statistics
The media release covers the statistics of commercial marine fishery and producer prices for fish.
Commercial marine fishery statistics are based on data collected by the Southwest Finland Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY) and the Provincial Government of Åland for the central national register on commercial fishery. Depending on the size of the ship and the type of catch, all commercial fishermen are obligated to report their catch immediately while the ship is at sea, within 48 hours of landing the catch, or by the 20th day of the month following the end of the fishing month. Larger ships have an on-board satellite tracking system that allows the authorities to monitor the ship’s movement. Information about fish producer prices is collected from the ELY Centre’s registers and enterprises that purchase fish from fishermen. The Finnish Fish Farmers’ Association provides information about producer prices of farmed fish.