Scientific Cooperation to Support Responsible Fisheries in the Adriatic Sea

General outline of marine capture fisheries legislation and regulations in the Adriatic Sea countries

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 Access regimes to fisheries resources

Since the adoption of the LOSC in 1982, access to fisheries resources occurring within waters under national sovereignty or jurisdiction is controlled by coastal States. As mentioned above, coastal States have so far, for the most part, refrained from declaring an EEZ in the Mediterranean Sea. As a result, waters lying beyond coastal Statesí territorial waters remain part of the high seas and are thus subject to relevant rules of international law, in particular that of part VII of the LOSC. Likewise, States bordering the Adriatic Sea, which is a narrow body of water, have not yet used their right to declare an EEZ off their coasts.
This chapter will examine for each country the legal regime governing access to fisheries resources occurring within their territorial waters.

The basic fisheries legislation of Albania is Law No. 64 of 31 May 2012 on Fisheries, which replaces the fisheries regime established by Law No. 7908 of 5 April 1995 on Fishery and Aquaculture. The competent authority for fisheries matters is the Fisheries Directorate of the Ministry of Environment. A draft Law on Aquaculture is under preparation and should be introduced into Parliament by the end of 2015. The new draft law is based on EU Directives and GFCM recommendations and provides for Allocated Zones for Aquaculture (AZAs).

The new fisheries law is implemented by four Decision of the Council of Ministers (DCM), prepared for the approximation of Albanian legislation with EU legislation. Two of these regulations have been adopted, and the other two are in the process of being adopted:

  1. DCM No. 301 of 10 April 2013 on the establishment of a national framework for the collection, management and use of data in the fisheries sector and support for scientific advice in accordance with the Albanian Fisheries Policy;

  2. DCM No. 302 of 10 April 2013 establishing a system to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU) and establishing fish catch certification schemes;

  3. DCM No. 402 of 8 May 2013 on management measures for the sustainable exploitation of fishery resources in the Mediterranean Sea;

  4. DCM No. 407 of 8 May 2013 establishing a control system for ensuring compliance with the rules of the management fisheries policy.

In addition, the Minister of Environment has adopted Regulation No. 12 of 4 June 2012 determining the procedures of application for fishery permits and public competition for exercising fishery activities in the sea and in internal waters and for aquaculture. Technical Regulation No. 1 of 7 March 2014 makes detailed provisions on the implementation of the new Law on Fisheries.

According to Article 28 of the 2012 Law on Fisheries, fishing activities may be classified as:

  • Commercial fishing (with the purpose of selling, trading or exchanging products, further subdivided in Professional and Artisanal Commercial Fishing);

  • Recreational/sport fishing (consisting of exploiting marine resources for recreation, sport or tourism, with non-commercial purposes);

  • Fishing for scientific research purposes.

Commercial fishing licences


For Albanian fishing vessels, a fishing license is required under Article 30 of the Law on Fisheries to practice commercial fishing. Commercial fishing licences may not be granted to foreign fishing vessels, and foreigners may not own more than 49 percent of Albanian-flagged vessels, as established under Article 30 of the Law on Fisheries.

Commercial fishing may be carried out by a professional fishery trader or by a fishery artisan (Article 29). Professional fishing is performed by ships longer than 12m and with motor power equal or greater than 56 kW (75 horsepower) (Article 4(62)).

Albanian vessels fishing beyond territorial waters are subject to a special authorization from the Ministry (Article 34, Law on Fisheries).

Prerequisites to application

Documentary requirements for commercial professional fishing are: (i) a certificate of registration of the fishing vessel, issued by the Port Authority; (ii) a certificate of seaworthiness issued by the Maritime Register; (iii) a certificate of ownership of the vessel; and (iv) a certificate of registration in the Business Registering Centre (BRC). Enlisting in the Register of Fishing Vessels (PAR) is a prerequisite to, but not a sufficient condition for the issuance of a commercial professional fishing licence (Article 32). Professional fishery traders must join the Register of Professional Fishermen (PPR).

For commercial artisanal fishing, requirements include: a BRC registration certificate; a Border Police Certificate; and a vessel book issued by the Port Authority.


Applications shall be submitted to the National Licensing Centre (NLC) together with the relevant documentation. The type of licence required for Albanian vessels falls under category III.5 of the Annex to Law No. 10 081 of 23 February 2009 on licences, authorizations and permits in the Republic of Albania. Procedures are defined under Regulation No. 12 of 4 June 2012 determining the procedures of application for fishery permits and public competition for exercising fishery activities in sea, internal waters, and aquaculture.


The application file is examined and approved or refused by the License Commission of the Ministry. Licences are delivered by the NLC on to juridical and physical persons wishing to practice commercial fishing that strictly meet the relevant legal requirements for the type of licence.

Licence Fees

The annual licence fee is established by Law No. 8435 of 28 December 1998, as amended by Law No. 8713 of 15 December 2000. The amount of the fee is defined according the vesselís engine power and to the type of fishing licence.


Each licence has a validity of 5 years. Upon expiration, licences may be renewed through the same procedure. No provisions are found on revocation of fishing licences in the 2012 Law on Fisheries.

Scientific research authorization

Fishing for scientific research purposes may only be carried out with a ministerial authorization and under such conditions as defined by the Minister (Article 49, Law on Fisheries). Public or private research entities are given ministerial recognition based on the opinion of the Committee for the Coordination of Research, Technical and Economic Matters (KKKSHTE) (Article 50). Scientific fishing authorizations may also be granted for fishing in fisheries protection areas (Article 12(2)(c)).

Sport and recreational fishing licenses

Recreational/sport fishing consists of catching/collecting fish and other aquatic organisms, using tools and gears allowed for recreational/sport fishing. Catch may not be sold, exchanged or marketed. Recreational fishing should not interfere, obstruct, endanger or hinder commercial fishing (Article 38, Law on Fisheries). There are three categories of recreational/sport fishing: amateur fishing; sport fishing; and tourist fishing (Article 39, Law on Fisheries).

Amateur fishing is a leisure fishing activity using hooks or other professional fishing gear, not organized and not related to competitions or events; it is performed without using navigation vehicles. Amateur fishing authorizations are granted by the competent local authority (Article 40(5), Law on Fisheries). Only Albanian or foreign citizens who are members of national associations of recreational/sports fishing have the right to apply and obtain an authorization for amateur fishing.

Amateur fishing may be performed under a long- or short-term authorization. A long-term authorization is valid during the entire calendar year. A short-term authorization is valid for a period no longer than 30 days, starting from the day it is issued (Article 41, Law on Fisheries). Foreign citizens may only apply for short-term authorizations.

Sport fishing is an organized fishing activity consisting of a free competition between individual fishermen to catch the largest specimen, number or amount of fish, depending on the established rules. Sport fishing does not require any authorization.

Tourist fishing is a fishing activity conducted by professional fishermen or recreational fishing professionals, who are considered as a third party organizing fishing expeditions. Tourist fishing authorizations are granted by the Ministry or any other entity authorized by it (Article 40(6), Law on Fisheries). Tourist fishing may only be performed under a short-term authorization (Article 41(2)).

The type, maximum number of authorizations that may be granted in each Commune/Municipality/Region during a calendar year, as well as the criteria for granting/obtaining a fishing licence, are determined by the Minister (Article 40(2), Law on Fisheries).

The following prohibitions apply to recreational/sports fishing (Article 45):

  1. fishing from sunset till dawn;

  2. fishing with spear guns by persons under the age of 16;

  3. selling fish caught during this activity.

 Definition of terms

Inclusion of definitions of key concepts and terms in basic fisheries legislation is primarily designed to facilitate the good understanding of the Acts and thus avoid any problem of interpretation in implementing the provisions of this Acts. In addition, it enables lawmakers to modify (restrict or broaden) the meaning of common words for the specific purpose of the Acts and implementing regulations. For instance, the meaning of the word fish is commonly broadened so as to include not only fish, but also crustaceans, molluscs and other types of aquatic organisms.

Key concepts and terms that are examined in this chapter are as follows: national waters, aquatic species, fishing, commercial fishing, artisanal fishing, fishing vessel, national vessel, and foreign vessel.

In Albanian legislation, national waters are identified as waters of the Republic of Albania, which include both marine and inland waters (Article 4(98), 2012 Law on Fisheries). The terms internal sea waters, territorial waters and maritime space are defined in the Albanian Maritime Code (Law No. 9251 of 8 July 2004, as amended) in line with UNCLOS , whereas transitional waters are surface waters found in the vicinity of river mouths, which are partially saline in character, as a result of their proximity to coastal waters, but which are substantially influenced by freshwater flows (Article 4(100-102), Law on Fisheries). Internal waters include coastal lagoons, natural lakes, lakes, hydropower, agricultural watersheds, rivers and other waters of the Republic of Albania, other than marine waters (Article 4(99) Law on Fisheries).

Aquatic resources are defined as living or non-living resources, flora or fauna, edible or inedible, which have water as their natural habitat, including fish, crustaceans, molluscs, corals, sponges, amphibians, marine reptiles, marine mammals, as well as their eggs, fingerlings/juveniles, larvae or other natural products, with the exception of sea birds (Article 4(51), Law on Fisheries). Living aquatic resources are defined as fish and other aquatic organisms, including anadromous and catadromous species found in the maritime space and in inland waters (Article 4(10)). Fish and other marine/aquatic organisms are further defined as marine/aquatic mammals or plants, including fish, molluscs, crustacean, corals, sponges, sea urchins and other echinoderms, tortoises, reptiles, marine/aquatic mammals, their eggs, larvae and initial stages of growth (Article 4(65)). For the definition of biodiversity, the law refers to Law No. 9587 of 20 July 2006 on the Protection of Biodiversity (Article 4(8), Law on Fisheries).

Fishing activities are those related to the search of fish, to the release, setting and towing of fishing gear, to the transfer of catch on board, to the transhipment of catch, to on-board storage of catch, to on-board processing of catch, to fattening in cages, and to unloading of fish and its products (Article 4(1), Law on Fisheries).The term fishing sector is defined as the sector of economy, which includes all activities related to catching, processing and marketing of fish and aquaculture products (Article 4(81)). Commercial fishery is defined as fishing activities aiming, fully or partially, at the sale, trade or exchange of products; it excludes sport/recreational fisheries (Article 4(61-64)). Commercial fishing may be performed at professional or artisanal level. Professional commercial fishing involves the use of fishing vessels over 12 meters long with an engine power greater than/or equal to 56 kW (75 hp). Artisanal commercial fishing is defined as commercial fishing that does not fall into the professional commercial fishing category. The law also gives a comprehensive definition of IUU fishing under Article 4(60).

A fishing vessel is a navigation vehicle of any size used or intended to be used for exploitation of marine resources for commercial purposes, including auxiliary vessels, fish processing vessels, vessels involved in transhipment operations, and transport vessels equipped for the transportation of fish products, excluding container vessels (Article 4(2), Law on Fisheries). National vessels are not explicitly defined in the law but the concept is referred to in the definition of fishing fleet. The term fishing fleet is defined as the total number of fishing vessels flying the Albanian flag, registered in the National Fleet Register (NFR) (Article 4(17)). The NFR registration number identifies national fishing vessels (Article 4(50)). A foreign fishing vessel is a fishing vessel that does not fly the Albanian flag (Article 4(3)).

 Conservation and management measures

This chapter examines, for each country studied in this paper, conservation and management measures that have been adopted to implement national policies for responsible conservation of fisheries resources and fisheries management and development.

Planning instruments

The Structural Fisheries Policy (SFP) is part of the general policies of the Ministry, reviewed at least once every four years (Article 17, Law on Fisheries). The SFP is defined and implemented in accordance with the National Fisheries Strategy (NFS), the Fisheries Management Plan (FMP) and Fisheries Implementation Plan (FIP) (Article 23).

The SFP, which is the main Albanian fisheries policy document, aims at:

  1. supporting national fisheries strategy to ensure sustainable exploitation of living aquatic resources;

  2. promoting a sustainable balance between resources and fishing capacity of the fishing fleet;

  3. supporting the competitiveness of the productive structures and the development of economically active enterprises in the fisheries sector;

  4. strengthening the protection and improvement of the environment and natural resources where there is a connection with the fisheries sector;

  5. promoting sustainable and improving the quality of life in areas in which the fishing activity;

  6. promoting equal opportunities between men and women in the development of the fisheries sector and of fishing areas.

The Council of Ministers may adopt measures in the following areas of structural interventions (Article 18):

  1. adaptation of the fishing fleet;

  2. inland waters and processing of fishery products trading;

  3. public interest (sustainable fisheries management, environmental health, ports and landing sites, market opportunities);

  4. sustainable development of fisheries areas.

The NFS, which is the main fisheries strategy document in Albania, shall define the term fishing and establish priorities and objectives for fisheries development. It shall identify the funds needed for the implementation of the strategic objectives within the agreed timeframe and the responsibilities arising from international agreements, particularly with regard to:

  1. management and promotion of the fishing fleet and sustainable development of fishing activities (fishing effort, capacity, fish resources, environmentally-friendly fishing methods);

  2. sustainable development of fish processing and trade;

  3. sustainable development of fishing areas, including criteria to identify priority areas;

  4. competitiveness of the fisheries sector, including improvement of infrastructure, organization and work environment;

  5. development of fishing activities outside the territorial sea in accordance with international agreements;

  6. preservation of human resources, focusing on the improvement of professional skills, sustainable employment and gender balance;

  7. providing equipment and other conditions for inspections / audits of fishing activity, as well as for the collection of data and information that are important for the common fisheries policy;

  8. providing support and technical assistance to sustainable fisheries initiatives;

  9. protection and improvement of the environment.

The NFS is approved by decision of the Council of Ministers and prepared by the Ministry in charge of fisheries, in cooperation and coordination with: national competent public authorities, central and local; scientific institutions, and institutions and / or other expert bodies in the field of fisheries and the environment; and stakeholders in the field of fisheries and the environment (Article 24).

The FMP, which is the main Albanian fisheries planning tool, contains short- and mid-term objectives on fisheries development, the types of programmes and measures to be adopted, expected results and the necessary financial resources for the implementation of fisheries policy measures. Fisheries Management Plans are prepared by the Directorate of Fisheries for a period of 5 years, in cooperation with the representatives of the different interest groups (Article 25).

The FIP, which is the FMP implementation plan, includes:

  1. a description of the fisheries in relation to the fishing area, fish species/types, fishing characteristics, fishing methods, as well as the current exploitation situation;

  2. data on the monitoring of the situation of economically important fish populations and other deep sea pelagic species;

  3. an analysis of fish populations, including biological characteristics and the conservation status; the objectives to be achieved over the defined period;

  4. technical measures to be applied, including measures for the protection of fish population; ecosystem-based management measures;

  5. the economic impact of measures taken in the fishery sector; and criteria for the evaluation of the Planís efficiency.

The FIP also sets out the general principles regarding: licensing conditions, the issuance of special permits for experimental fishing, for specific fishing vessels and for fishing vessels that are less than 10 meters; the reduction of discards; the monitoring method for vessels that are less than 15 meters; the issuance of permits for recreational/sport fishing or diving; temporary exception to FIP provisions; and, where needed, restrictions on fishing activities. The FIP is prepared by the Ministry in cooperation and coordination with competent scientific institutions and other interest groups in fisheries and aquaculture, and is approved by order of the Minister (Article 26).

Commercial fishing[6]

a)  Fishing effort and capacity

The Minister may adopt regulations on the adjustment of the minimum and maximum limits for areas subject to a fishing effort, on the procedures for notification of fishing vessels, on the granting of a preliminary authorization to fishing vessels subject to a determined fishing effort, as well as on exceptions to the established rules (Article 87).

The Minister may adjust fishing capacity and is responsible for ensuring compliance with fishing capacity limits based on the projected capacity of fishing permits or as otherwise established in accordance with applicable legislation. The Council of Ministers defines the method used for fishing capacity determination (with reference to the registration of fishing vessels, the vesselsí engine power, the fishing vesselsí tonnage, as well as the type, number and characteristics of their fishing equipment). The Fisheries Inspectorate is responsible for verifying compliance with established fishing capacity limits (Article 101).

The Minister determines by regulation the conditions for issuing certificates for motor power fishing vessels (except for vessels that exclusively use fixed nets or Draga and fishing aids or exclusively operate in aquaculture). Certificates are issued upon payment of a given fee. The Minister may set specific regulations requiring ships that are subject to a specific fisheries regime to be equipped with the appropriate certificate of motor power (Articles 102-103).

The Minister may also establish prohibitions, restrictions and limitations on fishing gear, fishing zones, fish species, minimum mesh sizes, etc. In order to protect special fish species and other marine and inland organisms from overfishing, the Ministry decides to declare the closure of fishing season or prohibit the use of certain gear and equipment for commercial or recreational/sport fishing (Articles 14, 107 and 119).

Aiming at the sustainable use and protection of economically important fish species and other marine organisms, after consulting specialized scientific institutions in this sector, the Minister determines the number and size of fishing vessels, their engine power, type and quality of fishing equipment and gear, which are allowed to fish in certain fishing areas, prohibitions of fishing in a certain area, allowable catch in terms of quantity, or allowable collection per fishing license, and the number of licenses for certain types of fishing (Article 16). Catch certification schemes for the import and export of fishery products may be adopted by the Council of Ministers (Article 118).

Fishing vessels are obliged to keep all the data related to fishing opportunities and fishing effort recorded in the logbook and landing or transhipment declarations. Every fishing vessel informs the fisheries inspectorate within the 25th of each month about the quantity of each fish stock or group stock subject to the total allowable quotas (TAC), as well as quotas landed during the previous month. When a fishing vessel is subject to a fishing effort, or has carried out fishing activity in an area subject to this fishing regime, the owner maintains records of the quantity of catch from that area, as well as the fish species caught by his vessel, and reports them within a month to the Fisheries Inspectorate (Article 88).

The captains or owners of fishing vessels that are subject to a fishing effort regime, but do not have a monitoring system on board or do not transmit the logbook data, must, transmit to the Inter-ministerial Maritime Operational Centre (IMOC/QNOD), through fax, telephone messages or e-mail in the form of a report, the data recorded immediately prior to each entry or exit in/from a geographical area, including name, external identification mark, radio call signals and the name of the owner of the fishing vessel, the geographical location of the vessel for which it is being reported, date and time of each entry and exit in/from the area, the amount of catch on board in live weight in kilograms (Article 91).

b) Prohibited fishing zones

Fishing is prohibited in the port area, access roads and anchoring sites (Article 16, Law on Fisheries).

The Minister may decide to close fishing activities in a certain area when the amount of catch in a fish stock or in a group of stocks subject to a quota is exhausted by the fishing vessels or when a vessel/subject has reached the maximum allowable limit for a given species or for a certain geographical area that is subject to a fishing effort. The age of vessels that may be registered in the Maritime Register as commercial fishing vessels shall be defined by the Council of Ministers, in accordance with the standards, criteria and environmental conditions (Article 119).

The fishing activity of Albanian vessels in a restricted fishing area is subject to monitoring from IMOC. Areas with a restricted fishing regime have a detection system in place for monitoring vessels during their entry, transiting and exit from the restricted fishing areas. Data must be communicated every 30 minutes (Article 105).

c) Fishing gear

According to Article 89, the captain or owner of a fishing vessel gives notice to the Fisheries Inspectorate of the type and number of fishing gear to be used. The use of fishing gear during one fishing trip is subject to a prior authorization by the Fisheries Inspectorate, whenever a fishing effort regime allows the utilization of gear that belongs to more than one set in a certain area.

Unless it is operating under a specific authorization, a fishing vessel passing through an area that is subject to a fishing effort regime must tie and stow any prohibited fishing nets present on board the vessel (Article 92).

d) Fishing methods

Catching, collecting and/or selling fish and other marine organisms using explosives, chemical substances or any other way of killing, intoxication or poisoning is prohibited. Substances and devices that may not be kept either on board or on shore are listed under Article 16 of the Law on Fisheries.

e) Minimum size and juveniles

Juveniles and other marine organisms are protected under Article 10, which establishes the minimum size of fish. Special regulations establish the minimum dimensions of fish and other marine and inland water species, including anadromous and catadromous species, below which catching, keeping or transiting on board, intentional landing, marketing or consumption are prohibited.

Notwithstanding established sizes, the Minister may allow the catch of juveniles, fish species and other marine organisms unable to reproduce, in a specified period using specific fishing gear, aiming at repopulating for the protection of species and research activity.

New prohibitions and limitations in regards of fishing gears, fish species, minimum sizes, etc., are currently under preparation. The proposed minimum sizes are shown in Table 1 below.

Table 1. Annex III of DCM No. 402 of 8 May 2013 on management measures for the sustainable exploitation of fishery resources in the Mediterranean Sea, which establishes the minimal dimensions of marine organisms (TL Ė General length; CL Ė Carapace length).

Species (scientific name)

Albanian Name

minimun size in cm or
minimum weight in kg

1. FISH    
Dicentrarchus labrax Levreku 25 cm
Diplodus annularis Sargu bishtzi 12 cm
Diplodus puntazzo Sharan 18 cm
Diplodus sargus Sargu 23 cm
Diplodus vulgaris Sargua 18 cm
Engraulis encrasicholus1 Acuga   9 cm
Epinephelus spp. Kerrat   45 cm
Lithognathus mormyrus Murra  20 cm
Merluccius merluccius2 Merluc   20 cm
Mullus spp. BarbunŽt 11 cm
Pagellus acarne Mormuri i eger 17 cm
Pagellus bogaraveo Spalce e kuge 33 cm
Pagellus erythrinus Spalce e kuge 15 cm
Pagrus pagrus Pagri 18 cm
Polyprion americanus Kerr fundi 45 cm
Sardina pilchardus3 Sardelja 11 cm
Scomber spp. Skumri   18 cm
Solea vulgaris   Gjuhez kanali 20 cm
Sparus aurata   Kocja 20 cm
Trachurus spp. StavridhŽt 15 cm
Hommarus sgammarus      105 mm CL
300 mm TL
Nephrops norvegicus Skampi 20 mm CL
70 mm TL
Palinuridae Aragostat 90 mm CL
Parapeneus longirostris Karkaleci rozŽ 20 mm CL
Pecten jacobeus      10 cm
Venerupis spp.      25 mm
Venus spp.      25 mm

[1] Anchovy: the minimal dimention can be convertet into 110 individuals per kilogram.

[2] Hake: Even the limit tolerance of 15 percent individuals weight of hake to be including in the length between 15 and 20 cm, this tolerance limit can be respected by fishing vessels in open sea area or in landing area, as well as in first sale fish markets after landings. This limit will be aplicable even in each further market transaction at the national and/or international level.

[3] Sardina: the minimal dimention can be converted into 55 individuals per kilogram.

f)    Protected species

The list of protected fish species and other marine organisms/creatures, including anadromous and catadromous species, shall be approved by the Council of Ministers prior consultation with scientific institutions and other interest groups (Article 9).

Article 37 prohibits the fishing of certain types of marine organisms, in particular catching, keeping or transiting on board, intentional landing and marketing of the following marine organisms, including for human consumption, is prohibited at any time, in any area and using any type of equipment or gear:

punto elenco

river alcoran - Salmo letnica lumi;

punto elenco

sturgeon - Acipenser sturio;

punto elenco

sharks - Cetorhinus maximus, Carcharodon carcharias;

punto elenco

sea cow - Mobula mobular;

punto elenco

dater shell (dateri) - Lithophaga lithophaga;

punto elenco

corals - Corallium spp;

punto elenco

sponges - Spongidae;

punto elenco

sea mammals;

punto elenco

sea turtles;

punto elenco

sea cucumbers.

g)    Protected areas

In order to protect certain fish species and other marine organisms, under Article 11, the Council of Ministers may declare protected areas for fishing purposes, aiming to provide favourable conditions for natural reproduction of fish and growth of juveniles and other marine organisms. The boundaries and designation of marine protected areas for fishing purposes, as well as measures for their protection and development are defined by decision of the Council of Ministers, prior consultation of scientific institutions specialized in fisheries, environment and other interest groups, in accordance with the legislation in force.

Prior to declaring a marine protected area for fishing purposes that affects or may affect fishing activities of one or more countries with which Albania has signed international agreements, the Minister shall notify and get approval from the authorities of the concerned country/countries or any other authority provided in the agreement with exclusive power to review its implementation.

In the marine protected areas for fishing purposes, the following prohibitions shall apply: conduct or attempt to conduct fishing activity; extract or exploit the fauna or flora; dump or exploit sand or gravel; discharge or dislocate waters or any other kind of pollutant; intervene, damage or destroy the environment; construct structures/facilities on land or in the water; undertake or conduct other activities that can have a negative impact on the ecosystem of the protected area (Article 12).

Prohibitions in other fishing areas are covered by Article 13: in order to protect fish and other marine or inland water organisms or parts of marine and inland water fishing area, the Ministry orders the prohibition of fishing for a specific period of time. This prohibition is applied also to parts of the fishing area at sea and inland waters where the latter provide favourable conditions for natural reproduction of fish, growth of juveniles and other marine organisms.

Sport-recreational fishing

Tools used for recreational/sport fishing are determined by instruction of the Minister. The Minister also establishes the maximum amount of fish that may be caught by authorized recreational/sport fishers per day (24 hours) (Article 44, Law on Fisheries). 

 Monitoring, control and surveillance

Monitoring, control and surveillance (MCS) is an integral and essential component of fisheries management. MCS programs generally encompass the gathering of information on fishing effort characteristics and resource yields, the regulatory conditions under which the exploitation of fishery resources is to be conducted and the types of observations required to ensure compliance with regulatory controls imposed on fishing activities. This paper will primarily focus on MCS measures providing for the registration of fishers and fishing vessels, the marking of fishing vessels, observer programs and information reporting.

a) Register

The Directorate of fisheries creates and administers the Register of Professional Fishermen (PPR). The form, content and administration of PPR, as well as documentation, procedures and deadlines to be respected for submission of application for registration and / or appeal the decision to reject the registration determined by a regulation issued by the Minister (Article 31).

The Directorate of Fisheries creates and administers the Register of Fishing Vessels (PAR), which records all vessels used for commercial fishing. Any vessel registered in the PAR is given a Unique Identification Number (the NFR registration number). Possession of vessels used for commercial fishing is not a sufficient condition for issuance of a commercial fishing permit. Owners or users of vessels that are blacklisted for IUU fishing, by the European Union or any international organization recognized by the Republic of Albania, may not be registered in the PAR. The PAR registration procedures are defined by regulation issued by the Minister (Article 32).

b) Data collection

Monitoring authorities for fishing activities and fishing effort are the Fisheries Inspectorate and the IMOC (Article 67). Surveillance and detection is ensured by IMOC in Albanian territorial waters through:

  1. surveillance of fishing vessels with inspection vessels or other surveillance means;

  2. monitoring system;

  3. any other detection or identification method.

The National programme for the collection, management and use of data is established according to Article 93 through DCM No. 301 of 10 April 2013 on the establishment of a National framework for the collection, management and use of data in the fisheries sector and support for scientific advice regarding the Albanian Fisheries Policy. It is a multiannual programme for the collection, management and use of biological, technical, environmental and social-economic data.

Under Article 98, the Minister may only declare a port as a designated port or a shore-based place/location where landing or transhipment of fish products and port services are allowed based on the following criteria:

  1. unloading and transhipping time have been determined;

  2. unloading and transhipping locations have been determined;

  3. inspection and surveillance procedures have been determined.

All fishing activities, including transhipment, are subject to the control of the Fisheries Inspectorate (Article 68). Fishing vessels, subject to a multiannual fishery plan, are prohibited to tranship their catch on board of another fishing vessel, if the catch has not been weighted before according to the provisions of the law. Exemptions may be ordered by the Minister (Article 99). The Council of Ministers approves the national control programme (Article 100).

Vessels with a total length of 10 m or longer must keep a logbook on board to report on all operations. The logbook specifically contains the amount of all species caught and kept on board, for over 50 kg of live weight, or whenever possible the number of species caught. The allowable tolerance limit in the catch records of the fishing vessel is 10 percent for each kilograms of fish on board for all types of species.

Fishing vessels authorized to conduct professional fishing operations in Albanian waters must be marked in compliance with the FAO Standards Specifications for the Marking and Identification of Fishing Vessels (Article 39 of Fisheries Regulations No. 1 of 2005).

The captain or owner of the fishing vessel with a total length of 10 m or longer, or its representative, completes the landing declaration including information on the amount of species to be landed (Article 75). The captain or owner of the vessel is responsible for the accuracy and validity of the data in the landing declaration (Article 74). Provisions on Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported (IUU) fishing are established under Article 117: exporting, importing or launching into market IUU fish product is prohibited. Fish products may only be traded, exported or imported accompanied by a catch certificate (Article 118).

The duties, the rights and the reports of fishery inspectors are set in Articles 121 to 124. Article 125 creates and regulates fishery observers (monitoring capture, handling, and processing of water resources and related activities and record data related to these activities, collecting and recording biological information and other information related to the activity regulated by this law, collecting samples of water resources where fishing activity has been carried out).

c) Vessel monitoring system

Concerning the Vessel Monitoring System (VMS), fishing vessels with a total length of 12m or longer shall have on board a device that enables their immediate automatic identification or localization at regular intervals of time, through transmission of data about the respective location from a satellite system. Such vessels shall not conduct fishing activities without being equipped with the appropriate device for automatic identification and localization. IMOC communicates to the appropriate authority of another state the data of any Albanian ship fishing in the waters of that state (Article 72).

The captains or owners of fishing vessels with a total length of 12m or longer have the obligation to electronically record and transmit catch data from the fishing logbook to the IMOC at least once in 24 hours (Article 77). It is considered as IUU fishing, under Article 117(1)(b), when a vessel does not respect the obligations related to the recording and disclosure of data on catch, including data that are transmitted via satellite or prior notification.




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