The Estonian Fisheries Strategy (EFS) for 2014–2020 includes Estonia’s state of fish stocks, coastal fishery, trawling, recreational fishing, distance fishing, processing, marketing, as well as research and development activities. Its main objective is the sustainable development of Estonian fisheries industry as a branch of economy and enhancing the competitiveness of the fish production in the domestic and foreign markets.
In preparing the strategy, the Ministry involved an expert group, which included the representatives of public authorities, industry, and research institutions.
The structure of the strategy is based on the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) analyses prepared for each fisheries division.
The document provides for focusing more on increasing knowledge and innovation to use the existing technical base as effectively and cost-efficiently as possible. Many necessary money allocations in infrastructure and technologies were made under the framework of the Estonian Fisheries Strategy for 2007–2013. The constructive dialogue with the public authorities, researchers and industry should be continued in the new period. It is also important for the administration to design a more knowledge-based policy.
To achieve the objectives set out in the strategy, the sustainability of fish stocks must be ensured; this can be achieved through the optimum use of fishery resources. It should be also monitored that commercial fishing in conjunction with recreational fishing would not exceed the fishing capacity established for ensuring the sustainable management of fish stocks. Then, it is possible to increase the competitiveness of fishery products in the domestic and foreign markets, and to achieve the set goal.
The strategy serves as a basis for the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) operational programme, which determines the proposed measures for the development of the fisheries sector from the fund for the period from 2014–2020.
The Fisheries Council of the Ministry of Rural Affairs approved the strategy on 2 April 2013.