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EU Aquaculture Assistance Mechanism

Background information

Type of species farmed (Source: MNSPA; 2022, STECF) 

Rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss), Crayfish (Astacus astacus), European eel (Anguilla anguilla), Common carp (Cyprinus carpio), Sturgeon (Acipenseriformes), African eel/ North African catfish (Clarias gariepinus).

Type of production method (Source: MNSPA) 

In Estonia, over 75% of production comes from inland aquaculture production facilities, biggest share comes from inland flow through systems. The most economically important part of the economy is currently intensive commercial farming, where more than 80 % of total production is made up of salmonids (Salmonidae) (MNSPA). 

Sector’s size (production and consumption) (Source: 2022, Estonian Statistics & Estonian Institute of Economic Research) 

  • Production: 801 Tn (2022, Estonian Statistics) 
  • Consumption of fishery and aquaculture products: 17 Kg per capita (2022, Estonian Institute of Economic Research) 

Trends (past and future) (Source: MNSPA) 

  • Organic aquaculture in Estonia has not yet developed. While there is a growing interest in organic products among consumers and the share of organic products represents 3.7 % of total consumption, the producer of aquaculture products must take into account the general preferences and economic profitability of the local market. In Estonia, aquaculture is gaining increasing attention, which in turn would help to raise the level of organic awareness in the sector. The freshness, taste, quality, controlled production and price of fish from the farm are important for Estonian consumers. 
  • Increase the marine aquaculture in the Baltic Sea following the Maritime Spatial Planning of Estonia, it’s managed by Ministry of Finance.

Impact of aquaculture in the country’s economy, food market and labour market (Source: MNSPA) 

Despite a slight increase in production volumes, stable supply of high-quality raw materials to processors cannot be ensured, which means that Estonian aquaculture processors have to import salmon to their processing units. The Estonian aquaculture sector has not reached its full potential, in terms of low production capacity and relatively slow growth. Due to the low production volume, the total costs of sales of the sector are not covered. Marine aquaculture, which can operate in synergy with terrestrial aquaculture, is still underdeveloped and its development is limited in particular by the environmental status of the Baltic Sea, which must be taken into account when developing the sector. 

Challenges and opportunities (Source: MNSPA) 


  • Increasing actual aquaculture production, the target for the country is a sustainable marine aquaculture capacity of 10000 tonnes per year over the next five years. 
  • The development of marine aquaculture has been hampered by environmental problems.  
  • One of the bottlenecks in the development of marine aquaculture is the time needed to conduct scientific research (during EIA process) of a potential aquaculture to obtain the necessary permits. 
  • There is also a need to develop fish farming in Estonia and to increase investor confidence not only in fish farming but also in seaweed and shellfish farming, including the implementation of synergistic solutions to meet Estonian consumers’ demand for farmed fish in view of the MNSPA 2030 objectives. In order to ensure better investment certainty for operators in the development of marine aquaculture, the State will have a more responsible role in the exploitation of marine waters. This means that the State can assume responsibility for the whole process that should normally be carried out by the operator itself, both in order to carry out the necessary background examinations and to communicate with the various authorities. 
  • Consumption of fishery and aquaculture products in Estonia has been on a downward trend in recent years. Raising consumer awareness and increasing consumption will be a challenge for the marketing of aquaculture products in the future. In order to improve the situation, the Ministry of Agriculture has launched the ‘Fish sounds good’ campaign to promote the consumption of fish and fishery products, which started in February 2021 and will run until spring 2023. The main objective of the campaign is to increase the consumption of fish and fishery products in Estonia. At the heart of the campaign is the website, which has collected exciting recipes over the first year. 


  • The development of multitrophic aquaculture would make it possible, on the one hand, to remove nutrients from the sea by rearing algae and shellfish and, on the other hand, to provide high added value to aquaculture production with a high export potential. 
  • As the industrial cultivation and marketing of shellfish and algae (mainly, large algae) products in Estonia is not yet being carried out, it will be important to continue testing and research in this area throughout the value chain in the future in order to apply the knowledge acquired at a later stage. 
  • Organic aquaculture in Estonia has not yet developed. 
  • Production and marketing plans shall be drawn up to enable producer organisations, through collective action, to direct their members towards more sustainable production, containing the measures necessary to achieve these objectives. This will allow for increased market power and better planning of the production process if sufficient production capacity is available. 

Employment and number of enterprises (Source: 2023, Estonian Authority Agriculture and Food Board, AFB) 

45 licensed companies (2023, AFB) 

MNSP to develop sustainable aquaculture

Published National Strategic Plan on Aquaculture: Estonia's multiannual national aquaculture action plan 2030 (in Estonian)

Summary in English of the "Published National Strategic Plan on Aquaculture": Multiannual National Agenda for Aquaculture 2030

Relevant Authorities

Applicable Legislation

Applicable Procedures

  • Superficies licence application is handed to Consumer Protection and Technical Regulatory Authority who issues the licences. 
  • Water permit and registration application is submitted through the Environmental Decisions Information System (KOTKAS)  and Environmental Board issues the licences.
  • Register of Farm Animals of the Agricultural Registers and Information Board (PRIA

Other Relevant Documents

Contact Details

Name and surname: Eduard Koitmaa 

Position held and name of the organisation: Ministry of Regional Affairs and agriculture, Field Manager (advancement and marketing of living aquatic resources) 

Email address:  

Telephone number: +372 625 6233 


Summary in English of the "Published National Strategic Plan on Aquaculture" for Estonia
(474.02 KB - PDF)