Fishery has a long tradition in Austria. Since medieval times pond fish farming has made a valuable contribution to the preservation of fish stocks and to food security. Economic, ecological and legal framework conditions, Austria’s geographic location as a landlocked country and the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy are determining factors of the domestic fisheries policy.
The implementation of the Common Market Organisation (CMO) in fishery and aquaculture products causes corresponding impacts (e.g. marketing standards, consumer information,...).
From 2014 - 2020 Austrian fish breeders can obtain funds for structural improvements from the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF).
Guiding principles of the Austrian fisheries policy
Austria advocates an increased ecological orientation of fisheries and its legal basis. The prime goal is to maintain the natural diversity of species and the genetic variability of the fish fauna (e.g. by restoring endangered species):
- Qualitative and quantitative survey of fish stocks
- Guiding principles and measures for the sustainable utilisation of fish and for the ecological management of fish waters
- Statistics on fish stocks and the quantities of fish caught
- Improvement of the production requirements in pond fish farming and trout breeding
- Modern orientation of fish farming with respect to ecological requirements and fish health
- Autochthonous fish stocks
Organisation of fish producers in Austria
Fish producers are organised in the umbrella organisation "Austrian Association for Fisheries and Aquaculture". The umbrella organisation consists of the following associations: “Niederösterreichischer Teichwirteverband“, “Teichwirteverband Steiermark”, “Verband Österreichischer Forellenzüchter”, and “Verein österreichischer Seenfischer”.
New dialogue platform in the Austrian fishery sector
In the year 2000 the Austrian Advisory Board for Fisheries (“Österreichischer Fischbeirat”) was established, which serves as an advisory body to the Federal Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management. To take account of the institutional framework conditions on EU level, this institution was revised in 2007 to form the so-called “Information Meeting for EU Fisheries Affairs and Aquaculture“, briefly “IFA”.
The objective of this dialogue platform is the homogenous implementation of Community regulations in Austria. Exchange of know-how and experience among different administrative levels are to help identify synergies and possibilities for simplification. Efforts aim at strengthening cooperation on domestic level. The intensive dialogue is not only intended to strengthen Austria’s position in matters of relevance to fisheries, but also is to lead to an interlinked exchange of information in all other areas concerned, like water and environment.
The dialogue platform is organised by the Federal Agency of Water Management (BAW), the Institute of Water Ecology, Fishery Biology and Limnology at Scharfling (BAW-IGF), and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management (BMLFUW).
Legal bases of fisheries in Austria
The legislation and execution of the fisheries sector (professional fishing activities and sport fishing are the responsibility of the Federal Provinces (Art. 15 para. 1 BVG). The laws on fisheries are therefore adopted by the Provincial Parliament and executed by the district administration authorities (in most Federal Provinces) as authorities of first instance or the Provincial governments as second instance. The Provincial governments adopt the correct ordinances required for the implementation of these laws or of individual special provisions thereof.
Fishery is part of agricultural and forestry production. It is therefore exempted from the application of the Industrial Code (see Art. 2 para. 3 of the Industrial Code 1973).
Special provincial laws regulate the following matters:
- fishing permit
- fishing ground
- fishing districts
- management provisions