Activities of the division of fisheries resources
Every country is obliged to rightly evaluate the reducing natural resources, ensure their efficient management and maintenance, find a way to rationally use them and care for their recovery. The Ministry of Agriculture delegated the function of recovering and increasing fish stocks in water bodies of the national significance to the Fisheries Service under the Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Lithuania. The condition of fish populations in Lithuania is determined not only by the natural mortality of fish, but also by the anthropogenic impact, which is very considerable taking into account the number of anglers and commercial fishermen.
Fish farming is one of the most efficient and widely applicable ways for fast and efficient increasing of fish stocks, it is as much as ten times more efficient compared to natural spawning. For this purpose six technologically modern subdivisions of the Division of Pisciculture regularly breed and cultivate various fish species. With respect to the condition of the fish population in water bodies and scientific recommendations regarding fish farming works, the Fisheries Service annually introduces up to 28 million units of juvenile fish into Lithuanian public water bodies: sea trout, salmon, zander, Northern pike, European eel, catfish, lavaret, Atlantic sturgeon and dozens of other fish species. The percentage of fish introduced by the Fisheries Service is approximately 90% of total fish introduced into Lithuanian State-owned waters. With the onset of the use of closed recirculating systems for fish farming, the use of balanced feed and the optimum temperature regime, artificial fish breeding and growing has gained a major momentum. Today in Lithuania artificial breeding has become the inseparable part of the management plan for salmonid fish stocks. During the last four years only thanks to the effort of the Division of Pisciculture and its subdivisions, nearly 1.5 million units of salmon and sea trout of various ages were introduced into Lithuanian rivers, and 2,254,000 units of European eel were introduced into Lithuanian lakes. Works take place to introduce Atlantic sturgeon inhabiting the Baltic Sea into Lithuanian rivers. During 2011–2013 the Fisheries Service already introduced more than 20,000 units of juvenile Atlantic sturgeon into the Neris and Šventoji rivers. They were bred from eggs and grown in the production subdivisions of the Fisheries Service. Works of reintroducing the Atlantic sturgeon are long-term and quite labour intensive, they need thoroughness and patience. Thus the Government and international attention is needed for these works, as well as fair and responsible society attitude.
The population of crayfish becomes more numerous thanks to pisciculture. Protecting the local crayfish species, namely the European crayfish (Astacus astacus) and narrow-clawed crayfish (Astacus leptodactylus) is especially important. Based on the Strategy of Increasing Valuable Fish Stocks and annual fish and crayfish introduction plans, the Fisheries Service breeds and regularly introduces European crayfish into the State-owned and water bodies that are not leased. Furthermore, since 2010, based on scientific recommendations and annual plans of catching fish and crayfish for pisciculture, narrow-clawed crayfish is caught and relocated into the planned water bodies. These crayfish are first introduced into the water bodies that were historically inhabited by the species, and that have no eels and invasive crayfish, that are the natural enemies of the species.