What is missing for the development of fisheries? – The demand for fish in Serbia is huge, but there is no fish!

What is missing for the development of fisheries? – The demand for fish in Serbia is huge, but there is no fish!

Fishing, bearing in mind the resources at our disposal, could be a great economic potential, however…

“The demand for fish has increased drastically, but there is no fish!” he tells our portal Mirjana Miščević, MSc, senior adviser at the Association for Agriculture and Food Industry Chamber of Commerce of Serbia.

“The fact is that the growth of production inputs and increased demand have influenced the rise in prices, so that the price of carp in the pond, which was 300 dinars/kg at the beginning of the year, is now 700 dinars/kg of caught fish. Serbia has no sea, so it is necessary to import sea fish, but we can produce river fish and provide the needs of the domestic and foreign markets, if we as a country take appropriate measures”.

In Serbia today, there are 109 companies registered for freshwater aquaculture and 17 companies registered for commercial fishing. In 2021, 5,745 tons of edible fish were produced in ponds and 2,353 tons of fish caught by commercial and recreational fishermen.

Expensive production for domestic fish producers, stronger export support necessary

According to the latest available data, 2,778 tons of fish and fish products were exported and 35,178 tons were imported last year.

“One of the measures is the exemption of ponds from paying the water contribution on all grounds, otherwise we will witness the disappearance of fish farming in ponds. Ponds pay for water, unlike, for example, those in Croatia and the Czech Republic, which makes production more expensive. “It is necessary to exempt fish farms from paying the water contribution, establish the Fisheries Administration and financially support the export of fish and fish products, because only exports stimulate production,” says Miščević.

Fish farms in Serbia receive two types of incentives, for the reconstruction of fish farms and the production and sale of fish. And while 15 to 20 million dinars are allocated annually for the first type of aid, through the second type of incentive, all fish farms in Serbia receive 10 dinars per kilogram, which producers consider insufficient, bearing in mind that fish producers in other regions receive more significant incentives.

The good news is that the Ordinance on the quality of fish, crabs, shellfish and snails and their products is harmonized with the regulations in the EU, which will facilitate the export of fish, however there remains a need for greater production for the domestic and international market.

Alberto Kamarata from the European Commission, explaining the Common Fisheries Policy in the EU, stated that “fishing is a very important economic branch for every country, including Serbia, and that is why it is necessary to hear the voice of fishermen, because they have to participate in the creation of laws and decision-making which are of essential interest to them.”

With the election of the new government of the Republic of Serbia, there was no establishment of a Fisheries Administration or a special Sector for Fisheries at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management, which certainly will not contribute to greater “voice” of fishermen and their participation in making decisions that concern them. In addition to the above, it is necessary to work on systemic solutions and, in this sense, adopt a Strategy for the development of fisheries in the Republic of Serbia and create an Action Plan for its implementation.

However, there is a chance for fishing in Serbia and it is reflected in small ponds that can be profitable for individual producers. According to the estimates of the National Team for Rural Revival, an agricultural fishing farm could ensure its existence by producing at least 10 tons of fish, which in the conditions of trout production can be achieved on an area of ​​250 square meters, i.e. five hectares of carp pond (in semi-intensive production), or 1 .5 hectares in intensive production.

With all of the above and incentives for cooperative association (at the moment there are only three fishing cooperatives in Serbia), there is a chance for greater production of fish and fish products in Serbia.

Author: Željko Ivanji, correspondent of the agricultural portal Agromedia

Source: Agromedia by www.agromedia.rs.

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