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Fishing industry and commercial fishing

The Ministry of Rural Affairs designs and implements the Estonian Fisheries Policy, designed to develop the fishing industry and increasing its competitiveness.

After Estonia’s accession to the European Union, the local fisheries are regulated by the European Union’s Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), which covers the use and protection of fishery resources, the structure and market organisation policy, and foreign policy on fisheries. The latter also includes fisheries agreements with non-EU countries, and negotiations in international organisations.

The management of fisheries is divided between four bodies in Estonia – these authorities are the Ministry of Rural Affairs, the Ministry of the Environment, the Environmental Board, and the Environmental Inspectorate.

The areas of the Ministry of Rural Affairs are the development of market organisation system, the award of structural supports and state aid, the management of aquaculture sector, commercial fishing (including issuing permits for commercial fishing, managing a national registry of fishing vessels and catch accounting).

  • The preparation and implementation of the Policy on the Protection and Use of Fishery Resources, including the reproduction of fish stocks and the protection and restoration of spawning grounds and habitats, are managed by the Ministry of the Environment. The Ministry of the Environment also provides permits for scientific research and special purpose fishing.

    Website of the Ministry of the Environment »

  • Recreational fishing card is provided and recreational fishing data are collected by the Environmental Board.

    Website of the Environmental Board »

  • The monitoring of fishing activities is carried out by the Environmental Inspectorate belonging to the area of government of the Ministry of the Environment.

    Website of the Environmental Inspectorate »

Külmutatud kala. Allikas: Põllumajandusministeerium; autor: Tiit Koha

Strategic documents

  • The instrument for the implementation of the Estonian Fisheries Policy is the Estonian Fisheries Strategy for 2014–2020, which aims to increase the income of the Estonian fishermen, balance fishing opportunities and capacities, contribute to increasing the fish value as much as possible, and develop the potential of aquaculture as an under-utilised potential.

  • From 2014–2020, the European Union Fisheries Policy will be implemented through the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) 2014–2020.


Authorities and agencies


The activities of the Ministry and its area of government in designing and carrying out fisheries policy are coordinated by the Fishery Economics Department.


Last updated: 5 March 2018