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Saturday, April 13, 2024
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Assessing the fisheries sector in Montenegro: Challenges and progress

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Despite Montenegro’s long-standing tradition in fishing, the sector’s contribution to the overall Gross Domestic Product (GDP) remains within the statistical margin of error. According to the “Fisheries Development Strategy 2024–2029” prepared by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Water Management, the total contribution stands at a mere 0.5 percent.

The national strategy report indicates that fisheries and aquaculture contribute 0.5 percent to the national GDP, a figure that still surpasses the majority of EU member states.

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The evaluation of the fisheries sector’s contribution dates back to 2006 when the annual production amounted to 7.4 million euros against a GDP of 2.169 billion. Fast forward to 2022, with the GDP reaching around 5.8 billion, and the annual fisheries production ranging between 10 and 12 million euros. It’s clear that fisheries’ share in the GDP is less than 0.5 percent, as stated in the document.

The report underscores the prevalent characteristic of Montenegro’s fishing fleet, characterized by aging vessels and inadequate equipment, predominantly operated by small coastal vessels. The average age of vessels stands at 31.86 years, with an average length of 7.12 meters.

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In terms of employment, marine fisheries had 179 employees in 2013, while data from 2022 indicates 478 fishermen employed in the sector, with 333 working full-time and 145 part-time. Notably, 38 of the total employees are women, with 23 employed full-time and 15 part-time.

As for freshwater fisheries, the report highlights its significance as the main income source for several families, while for most, it remains an additional or secondary occupation. Approximately 300 registered fishermen are engaged in commercial fishing, predominantly utilizing old vessels and fishing gear.

Montenegro faces a trade deficit in agricultural and food products, with fisheries reflecting a similar trend, recording higher imports than exports. While exports exhibited a positive trend until 2022, totaling 4,174,930 euros, imports were significantly higher at 25,563,842 euros during the same period.

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