There are more than 20,000 species of fish in the world. According to an estimate, there are 75 species of fish and Cyclostomata in Estonia, 44 of whom live in fresh water, with the rest being migratory fish (salmon, sea trout) and semi-migratory fish (vimba, ide, common whitefish).

Strategic purpose of fishery is to ensure a good condition of fish populations and diversity of fish species. It is essential to avoid potential negative impact caused by fishing on ecosystem. Fish populations are in a good condition, if fish stock is able to reproduce naturally under the current environmental conditions despite the pressure of commercial capture and the species have a natural age structure.

Prudent behaviour towards fish stock means not to catch undersized species, not to damage fish habitats and disturb their spawning.

Most of the fishing is regulated internationally. Calculation of exploitation rates on the Baltic Sea differentiates between highly and less migratory fish. Catch limitations on highly migratory fish (sprat, Baltic herring, Atlantic cod, salmon) are established by the Council of the European Union. Fishing opportunities and conditions in Lakes Peipus, Lämmijärv and Pskov will be agreed on by the Estonian-Russian Fisheries Commission.

In Estonia, fishery is divided between two Ministries. The scope of the Ministry of the Environment includes the establishment of fishing opportunities and restrictions for professional and amateur fishermen on the basis of scientific research, issuance of special purpose fishing permits and recreational fishing permits and supervision over the bodies of water.

Recreational fishing and line fishing

Depending on the fishing gear used, a difference is made between line fishing and recreational fishing.

Recreational fishing is divided into two – in the case of payment for recreational fishing rights or on the basis of a fishing card.

Information about public use of water bodies is available here by selecting “Veekogud” (Water bodies) and entering the name of a water body in the search of water body. Upon opening detailed data of the water body, a note about public use thereof will also be displayed.

Compiled by: Ministry of the Environment