Fishery catch

Updated: 23 Dec 2020
Next update: 23 Dec 2021

The commercial total fish catch indicates the economic exploitation level of Finnish marine and inland fish resources. Recreational fishing is also an important sector exploiting the fish resources, and is providing opportunities for regeneration. Catch statistics are the primary data source for fish stock assessment that is used in fisheries management. Estimates and forecasts for fish stocks are the biological key information to internationally agree upon exploitation levels and catch quotas among the Baltic Sea countries.

The commercial fish catch statistics are compiled annually. The information is based on the catch reports that the fishermen are obligated to submit to the fisheries control authorities. The recreational fishing statistics are based on a survey that is compiled biennially.


Fish catch 164 million kilograms in 2019

The total annual catch of fish in Finland has been 153-193 million kg in the 2010s. Catches were lower in the 1980s, around 100-150 million kilograms. The main factor contributing to the level of catches is the variation in the volume of herring and sprat catch in the commercial marine fishery. In recent years, herring and sprat have accounted for about 80% of the total catch. Their share in the commercial marine catches, 142 million kilograms in 2019, is currently circa 95%. The market factors and the catch quota, which varies from year to year, determine the level of fishing effort and catches. In 1991, the total catch of commercial fishing was lowest in the recent decades. This was due to the challenging market situation for herring and sprat, which was a reflection of the downturn in the fur industry - and more broadly in the economy. However, the coastal fishing with nets and trap nets employs far more fishers than offshore trawling targeting for herring and sprat.

The 2018 values have been used as the catch for recreational fishing in 2019. The recreational catch was 22 million kilograms in 2018. Catch of the recreational fishery peaked at 69 million kilograms in 1992. The total catch by recreational fishers has declined for almost 30 years. This is caused both by the reduction in the number of fishers and, in particular, by the reduction in the use of nets. The vast majority, approximately 80%, of catches from recreational fisheries are caught in inland waters. Recreational fishers utilize a larger share of inland fish production than commercial fishers in Finland, whose catch was 5.2 million kilograms in 2018. Vendace was the major species in commercial inland fishery, both in volume and value. It accounted for almost half of the commercial catch.