by Thomas Jensen
  • Capital: Vilnius
  • Population: 2.8 million(2022, Eurostat)
  • GDP: €66.8 billion (2022, Eurostat)
  • GDP/capita: €27 170 (2022, Eurostat)

Overview of Lithuania’s fisheries and aquaculture sector

Fisheries sector

LTV Fish

Lithuania has a relatively short coastline of only 90 km, and its territorial waters and exclusive economic zone in the Baltic Sea amount to 7,000 km2. Lithuania has significant inland waters covering 2 621 km2, or 4% of the country’s territory. There are 2 827 lakes with a surface greater than 0.5 ha (87 359 ha), 1 589 ponds (24 434 ha), and 731 rivers longer than 10km (32 601 ha), including the largest rivers Nemunas and Neris.

The Lithuanian fleet is divided into 3 segments: small-scale operating in the Baltic Sea coastal area, large-scale vessels operating in the Baltic Sea, and the long-distance fleet that is the largest in terms of capacity and economic size.

Marine fisheries represent most of the total Lithuanian catch. Total capture by marine fisheries in 2022 was 60 084 tonnes, which included the Baltic Sea, long-distance ocean, and coastal fisheries. Lithuania’s fishing fleet numbered 125 vessels, mostly small coastal fishing vessels under 12 meters long (100), while only 17 fishing vessels operate in the open Baltic Sea. Lithuania has 8 long-distance fishing vessels which operate in areas regulated by the North West Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO), the North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC), and the South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organization (SPRFMO).

The Baltic Sea marine fishery that also includes the coastal fishery captured 13 835 tonnes of fish in 2022. The main commercial species were European sprat (over 85% of total tonnage), and Atlantic herring (over 12%).

The high-seas fishing fleet contributes the largest share in volume and value to Lithuanian total catches. Over 50% in terms of volume and over 90% of value of the total marine catches in 2022 were from this segment. Targeted species outside the EU exclusive economic zone are the chub mackerel and Atlantic horse mackerel, with 29% and 12% of the total marine catch volumes in 2022. Other major species were blue whiting, Atlantic herring, and Northern prawn.

Employment in the marine fisheries sector in 2021 totalled 463 persons FTE (437 men and 26 women). The long-distance fisheries segment was the major employer with 274 persons, followed by Baltic Sea (113) and coastal fisheries (76).

Inland fisheries contribute to just under 2% of Lithuania’s total commercial catches, with the Curonian Lagoon being the most significant inland fishing area. Targeted species include bream, roach, pike perch, and vimba.


LTV Aqua

The Lithuanian aquaculture sector in 2022 produced around 4 393 tonnes of fish for human consumption, valued at over €18 364 thousand. The most common production method is ponds, accounting for around 70% of total production for consumption. Other production methods include tanks and raceways, as well as recirculation aquaculture systems (RAS). The latter is the fastest growing method of production: in 2016 the volumes of fish from RAS amounted to 0,01% of the total, by the end of 2020 the share was 17.7%, and in 2022 reached 27.5%. RAS systems allow to produce high-value species, as well as to diversify the production assortment. The most commonly farmed species is Common carp, representing around 67% of the volume and 59% of the value of all fish farmed in 2022. Other cyprinids include bighead, crucian, and grass carps. In terms of production value, the most important species after common carp is African catfish, which is produced exclusively in RAS systems and has been gaining more and more popularity among fish farmers: during the period between 2018 and 2022 production volumes of this species quadrupled while the value grew 310% reaching 886 tonnes valued at €3.06 million. However, the average price for African catfish in the 2018-2022 period declined from EUR4.23/kg to EUR3.45/kg, mostly due to increased supply and competition.  Other important species farmed are rainbow trout and sturgeons.


In 2022, the aquaculture sector employed 431 persons (FTE), including 319 men and 112 women.

Processing and trade

LTV Proc

The processing sector is important due to its economic size and employment numbers. There are over 85 fish processing companies distributed across almost all the regions of the country, and in 2022 fish processing employed 5 685 persons (including 3 787 women and 1 898 men).

The total production of processed fish and seafood in 2022 reached 147 879 tonnes worth €753.9 million. Prepared and preserved fish is the largest group of products in terms of volume with over one-third share of the total and over 22% share in value. Smoked fish and fish fillets was the largest group in terms of value with almost 40% of the total production value with over 18% of the total volumes. Frozen fish fillets were another important group with over 18% of the volumes and 24% of the total value. Major processed species are salmon, herring, and cod in different product forms.

About 90% of the fish and seafood for Lithuania’s processing sector is imported. In 2022 the imports of fish and seafood for human consumption, including prepared and preserved products, reached 149.3 thousand tonnes in volume and €690.3 million in value (Eurostat). Over 50% of these imports came from the EU. Sweden is the major supplier out of the EU countries with over 40% share of the total EU import volumes to Lithuania. As one of the EU’s major distribution hubs for Atlantic salmon from Norway, Sweden supplies Lithuania with over 80% of the salmonids brought into the country. Latvia is the second largest supplier by volume, with small pelagic species contributing to about half of Latvia’s exports to Lithuania. Germany is the second largest EU exporter to Lithuania in terms of value, delivering both groundfish and small pelagics. Outside of the EU, Norway (small pelagics and groundfish) and the US (surimi), are the major contributors in terms of both volumes and value.

Lithuania’s well-developed processing sector is an important supplier of value-added products’ exports. In 2022 the country’s total exports of fish and seafood for human consumption, including prepared and preserved products, amounted to 132.7 thousand tonnes worth over €739.8 million (Eurostat). The EU market absorbed over three quarters of total volume and more than 80% of total value. Major EU destinations were Germany, Latvia, and France. Outside the EU, major destinations included Ukraine, UK, and US.



The key challenge for the fishing sector is to develop environmentally sustainable and profitable fisheries by enhancing the competitiveness of fisheries businesses and reducing the impact of fishing on the marine environment.

The aquaculture sector aims to increase energy efficiency and renewable energy use in pond aquaculture and to encourage the use of closed recirculation systems. Farming of species that can open new markets and fetch higher prices, while preserving traditional extensive aquaculture and organic production, is also a priority.

The main challenge in the processing industry is improving market organisation, and increasing profitability to make the entire supply chain more sustainable, and reducing dependency on imported raw materials.

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