Studies regarding fish resources and their condition, the assessment of the impact of fisheries

Information about changes in fish stock in the Baltic Sea and the impact of fishing is published on regular basis in important scientific magazines. The research data serve as the basis for the recommendations made by the researchers to the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) which prepares the review on the stock of the most important fish of the Baltic Sea, including, herring, sprat, cod, flounder, flatfish, halibut, salmon and sea trout. The recommendations of the researchers are provided to ICES countries and the European Commission in connection with the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, the Habitats Directive and common fisheries policy as well as to the Helsinki Commission (HELCCOM).

Studies on the functioning of internal water and the Baltic Sea ecosystems and biological diversity

Fishing in internal waters is made in hundreds of water reservoirs and a large number of fishermen are involved in it. In order to avert deficiency in the data regarding the volume of catch and its social economic importance, classic fisheries science will be combined with the studies on anthropogenic, environmental and economic impact. It is necessary to develop a new area of research which includes the monitoring of the impact of recreation angling on fish resources and the environment.

Currently, ICES is implementing the management of fisheries in the Baltic Sea that are based on eco-systems. The assessment and management of ecosystems envisages that information is gathered about all trophic levels of food network as well as the influence of the climate, fishing and eutrophication on them.

Important areas of study are also increasing influence of invasive species on ecosystems and emaciation of biological diversity – both of these processes can be observed in various parts of the Baltic Sea.

Improvement of efficiency of reproduction of fish resources, development of aquaculture

Aquaculture is rapidly growing food production industry. Global demand serves as driving force for more rapid development of aquaculture. In 1950, it gave only 3.2 % from total fisheries product but currently it gives 50 %.

The development of aquaculture is supported by the Ministry of Agriculture of Latvia with program for the Development of Fisheries (2014-2020). It is necessary to collect evidence starting from till environmental, genetic and epidemiological effects of aquaculture for the development of aquaculture sector in Latvia. Aquaculture industry faces increasing environmental challenges, and there is a necessity for the support to develop sustainable managing approach.

Currently, aquaculture farms in Latvia operate for the needs of the market, for fishing in ponds, for the delivery of live fish to ponds, artificial reproduction of fish and crustaceans, as well as for fry breeding and their release in natural waterbodies. The lack of artificially cultivated fish is one of the main reasons why the development of aquaculture stagnates. Cultivation of sturgeons and brown trout has been started although it is still necessary to cultivate zanders, eel, pike, freshwater cods and other local species. Until this moment, fresh water aquaculture is being developed in Latvia. The development of aquaculture of the sea has not been started yet, and this is a possibility of studies and entrepreneurship for the future.

The development and implementation of Latvia national fisheries data collection program

Collection of data regarding fisheries is regulated by the European Union and it is performed with the aim to evaluate fish resources and fishermen fleet as well as the economic effect of fish processing industry and aquaculture industry. Every year, BIOR prepares the review on the data collected as well as the resources allocated for data collection and the methods which are evaluated by the European Commission Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee of Fisheries (STECF).