Blue economy of Romania – 4BIZ country report

On 17 March, an online presentation of 4BIZ partner countries’ reports took place. We invite you to read the latest information on the blue economy in Romania, presented by the speakers of the Galati Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture.

Сurrent situation in the field of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Coastal and Maritime Tourism and Maritime Transport.

In Romania Aquaculture has been carried out, in recent years, exclusively in fresh waters (waters continental/inland) and is technologically characterized by two directions:

  • extensive and semi-intensive growth of cyprinids in polyculture, in earth basins(lakes, ponds and lakes);
  • intensive growth of salmonids.

Although Romanian aquaculture benefits from a high degree of species diversification used, with over 30 species used in culture, an increase in recent years has been noted aquaculture units specialized in other types of species, as a result of the investments made in especially, through the Programs with European funding. In this sense, in aquaculture of fresh water, a number of specialized units on other species have been/are being developed than cyprinids or trout, as follows:

  • the increase of African catfish;
  • growth of sturgeons;
  • raising tilapia;
  • increasing the saddle.

The introduction of new species in aquaculture is proposed to be carried out in breeding systems intensive, closed, recirculating type that reduces the possibility of these species escaping into the environment natural.

However, raising cyprinids in polyculture represents the type of integrated aquaculture multitrophic which, from the point of view of environmental objectives, presents the advantage of conserving or improve water quality and contribute, by recycling nutrients, to the circular economy, having the quality of net provider of environmental services for society.

According to the records of the National Agency for Fisheries and Aquaculture (NAFA), in Romania there is an area of ​​approx. 135,000 ha of landscaping freshwater fish that correspond to a number of approx. 1,000 fish farms, located in ownership/administration of NAFA, local/county councils and the National Administration of the Romanian Waters.

Marine aquaculture has a relatively recent development in the Black Sea and particularly at Romanian seaside. Despite all the difficulties, there is a desire for regional development in perspective, both scientifically and technologically. The results of the evaluations prove it that the great obstacles in the development of mariculture in Romania are due to both natural conditions, traditionally unstable, high financial risks, erosion, vulnerability and lack of areas sheltered, but especially the lack of attractiveness for profile companies.

Although the conditions for practicing aquaculture are not exactly ideal, most of the parameters considered to be “medium”, which demonstrates the viability of such an activity. The main limiting factors identified are the lack of sheltered areas, storms and temperatures low in winter, which can endanger production.

In Romania, there have been attempts by some profile companies interested in achieving the cultivation of non-indigenous triploid mussels and oysters in small-scale long-line facilities, as well as of the calcan in seawater recirculating land installations. However, inadequate legislation and the lack of funds necessary for investments led to the stagnation of mariculture activity.

Located at the crossroads of Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe, Romania has an area of 238,397 km2. Romania benefits from all types of aquatic units: rivers, lakes, underground waters, marine waters.

Natural and semi-natural ecosystems cover about 47% of the country’s land area. There are almost 10,000 km2 (about 5% of the total area) of protected areas in Romania covering 13 national parks and three biosphere reserves.

The South-East region is crossed by the Danube river is part of the Danube Delta, and is bordered to the east by the entire Romanian coast of the Black Sea.

It is the region with the largest area of ​​protected areas in the whole of Romania

(43.8% of the total protected areas in Romania), as well as the region with the largest area occupied by natural protected areas (approximately 32% of the region’s surface). On its territory, there are 144 of protected natural areas of national interest – including a biosphere reserve, a national park and 3 natural parks – as well as 108 sites that are part of the Natura 2000 community network.

The Danube river forms a large part of the border with Serbia and Bulgaria, and flows into the Black Sea, forming the Danube Delta, which is the second-largest and best-preserved delta in Europe, and a biosphere reserve and a biodiversity World Heritage Site. At 5,800 km2, the Danube Delta is the largest continuous marshland in Europe, and supports 1,688 different plant species alone.

The territory of the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve, includes the Danube Delta proper, but also The Razim-Sinoe lake complex, the Maritime Danube up to Cotul Pisicii including the flood zone Somova-Parcheș, Sărături-Murighiol lake and the marine area between the coast and the 20m isobath.

Of the surface of the Delta, more than 3 000 km² are represented by natural aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, intended ecological reconstruction.

Maritime accessibility, from an international tourism perspective, is possible mainly by Constanța Port. Constanța Port is the main seaport of Romania, strategically located to supply goods to Central and Eastern Europe, being also the largest port of containers from the Black Sea, also provided with unloading berths for goods, but also with a modern passenger terminal.

In 2019,  Maritime Ports Administration SA Constanța forecasted 21 arrivals, respectively the docking of 7 ships in a maximum of 6 stops/each (of which only 2 arrivals are stops of sea ​​cruise, the rest being river cruises), registering an important decrease, also explainable in virtue the European geo-political context (migrant crisis, etc.). Ships scheduled to call at the Port Constanța in 2019, there are mostly ships with small capacities, intended for tourism for seniors, evoking causes such as a declining tourist attraction for the period of operation, excessive costs berthing and/or poor marketing to the cruise customer segment. Maritime accessibility from this point of view it is a reduced one. At the same time, the ports are also used from a tourist perspective interiors such as Brăila, Tulcea etc. During the cruise season (April-November), 129 ships pass through Tulcea cruise ships, via Sulina 21 cruise ships, via Hârșova 7 cruise ships, via Cernavodă 10 cruise ships, through Fetești 26 cruise ships, through the commune of Sfântu Gheorghe 11 cruise ships and through Brăila 6 cruise ships.

Important positive aspects during research.


More than half of the world’s fish and other food supply aquatic products intended for human consumption comes from aquaculture.

Aquaculture is the fastest growing food production activity growth in the world in the last decades. This growth is expected to continue.

Since 2013, the EU and its member states have established aquaculture   development objectives in European Union so as to ensure economic, social and environmental sustainability of this sector.

The European Green Deal is the new agenda for EU growth. Its objective is to stimulate economy and create jobs, accelerating also the green transition. In this context, it is more important than ever to ensure development the EU aquaculture sector so that it contributes, in turn, to the achievement of certain objectives important, such as reducing carbon emissions, the transition to more sustainable food systems, combating the decline of biodiversity, reducing pollution, and creating jobs in the coastal and rural communities.

Shipping has a number of important advantages and disadvantages, just like any other means of transport for goods or people. Ships are designed to withstand extreme weather conditions to transport huge quantities of goods from one country to another. Ships consume little fuel compared to their carrying capacity and are a means of ensuring the transport of dangerous goods in optimal conditions, from one end of the world to the other, most of the time without incident.

Ship maintenance costs significantly less than rail or road transport. Shipping by sea bears fewer restrictions compared to air shipping, for example. If there are certain types of goods restricted by air, then ships are a permitted means of transport. Before sending or ordering products from other countries, the costs involved in shipping should be taken into account.

Sea transport companies practice more favourable prices compared to air transport, as a rule. The ships are equipped with enormous space for storing a large amount of goods of any type. For this reason, they prove to be an efficient means of transport for people importing goods from abroad.

Success stories.


Success stories in aquaculture business in Romania:

Anghila Impex SRL is a commercial company that, in addition to the main activity, also carries out, according to the acts of operation, activities with NACE 0322 – Freshwater aquaculture and NACE 1020 – Processing and preserving of fish, crustaceans and molluscs.

During 2014-2016, the breeding technology applied by Anghila Impex SRL within the Esna Fish Farm was extensive, in polyculture, without the use of artificial feeds and without the administration of fertilizers in order to stimulate natural feeds, in which case very low productions for consumption were achieved, between 4 and 20 tonnes of fish/year. In order to increase the production capacity of the farm to approximately 150 tonnes of common carp per year, Anghila Impex SRL purchased specialized machinery and equipment that allowed the company to apply carp breeding technology in an intensive, protected and controlled system, in FRP basins and in floating cages. The benefits of this technology are high fish growth densities and producing products at optimal marketing sizes, which leads to high yields per small area units, and also the provision of healthy and safe products. Applying this technology implies the observance of special technical conditions for the promotion of animal health and welfare in order to obtain quality products and to ensure food health. Using FRP basins to obtain one-summer old juveniles and floating cages to obtain fish for human consumption has advantages in terms of controlling the technological process, an efficient consumption of the feed provided and, at the same time, the biggest advantage is the elimination of losses due to ichthyophagous birds, present in the area due to the fact that farm is located within the perimeter of the protected area for avifauna. Due to this project, Anghila Impex SRL created 6 new jobs (1 electromechanical technician and 5 fish farmers). At the same time, the company also owns a fish farm in the same area for the intensive breeding of trout and sturgeon in a recirculating system, which provides a considerable production of trout and sturgeon. For the capitalization of aquaculture products and the development/diversification of activities within the ESNA Fish Farm, Anghila Impex SRL set up a factory for fish and fish products processing. The built hall is compartmentalized according to the phases of the technological flow and equipped with specific processing equipment. The factory obtains about 327.5 tonnes/year of fish products – fish preserved by refrigeration, freezing, smoking, marinating, fish caviar – intended for sale on the domestic or foreign market. The investment will determine energy savings, by using alternative forms of energy (photovoltaic panels) and will reduce the impact on the environment by small-scale processing of fish waste – the project provides for processing and reuse in the feed of predatory species (wels catfish, pike, pike perch) of a part of the waste resulting from processing. Six new jobs were created as a result of the project implementation. The investments are located in Movila Miresii Commune, Brăila County, and have an economic, environmental and social impact by absorbing the existing labour force at local level.

Starting with 2014, Marfishing SRL capitalized on the ponds resulting from the exploitation of ballast from the perimeter of the former riverbed and terrace of the Siret River and set up, with the help of European funds (Operational Programme for Fishing 2007-2013), a mixed farm for cyprinids and acipenseridae, consisting of: – 5 basins (EC1-EC5) for breeding sturgeon spawners and breeders; – 1 basin (EC6) for breeding common carp, silver carp, bighead carp and grass carp, fry intended for the population of the basin for breeding and fattening; – 1 basin (EC7) intended for breeding and fattening of the common carp, silver carp, bighead carp and grass carp fry obtained from EC6. Through the project, a station was also built for the artificial reproduction of sturgeons, the incubation of eggs and the growth of fry to the age of 1 year. The farm was designed to achieve an annual production of 60 tonnes of fish for sale to third parties (common carp and Cyprinidae – silver carp, bighead carp, grass carp), of 270,000 sterlet and stellate sturgeon fry for sale to breeding units, but also to develop complementary activities – recreational fishing. The project, located within two Natura 2000 sites (ROSCI0162 Lunca Siretului Inferior and ROSPA0071 Lunca Siretului Inferior), contributed to the capitalization of the area by promoting alternative practices (aquaculture, tourism, etc.), to the functional improvement of environmental factors (wet habitats) and to the revitalization of the landscape, but it also helped to decrease the unemployment rate at local level. Based on the success of the business started in 2014, Marfishing SRL continued the investments from own funds but also from European funds accessed within the Operational Programme for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs 2014-2020 and diversified the activities of the fish farm, setting up accommodation units (41 bungalows, 10 houseboats and 26 yurt tents), public catering units (1 fishery restaurant with a capacity of 78 people) and leisure spaces (adventure park, swimming pool, etc.), thus developing the complex Zaga Zaga Land – Also, for tourists’ rides and for recreational fishing, 20 boats (10 electrically-powered boats and 10 boats with oars) were purchased. Through the aquaculture activities carried out as well as through the complementary ones (tourism), this successful investment attracts many clients/tourists annually, generating incomes that contribute to the prosperity of the area.

The Research – Development Institute for Aquatic Ecology, Fisheries and  Aquaculture Galați (ICDEAPA) carries out research, development and technology transfer activities in the fields of aquaculture, freshwater fishing, etc. The institution purchased, within the consulting center set up with European funds allocated through the Operational Programme for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs 2014-2020, a diagnostic system for aquaculture, unique in Romania, which provides online data from aquatic environments, wherever there is telephone coverage. The diagnostic system allows the collection of data from aquatic environments with the help of sensors, their transmission to the consulting center and the processing of information through software, so that the institute’s specialists to be able to issue solutions for rapid corrections on fish production or vegetation, corrections that can be made in real time.

The diagnostic system consists of the following elements: – the field component, a beacon equipped with sensors, which is placed on the water in the basin designed for fish farming and which sends the parameters in real time, via modem, to the laboratory of the institute; the beacon can be placed in any area of the country where there is telephone coverage; once installed, the beacon is autonomous and can transmit data from minute to minute or at any interval at which it is set; the setting of the beacon is done up to half a year, when it must be verified; – the static component, located at the laboratory, consisting of computers, a specialized softwareencrypted that transmits to the specialists the data collected from the field in order for them to make diagnoses on technology, chemistry, hydrobiology, ecology, pathology and to propose solutions to the reported problems. Typically, it would have taken several days, up to a week, to collect data from a fish farm and to determine the measures to be taken in the event of fish outbreaks or exponential growth of aquatic vegetation, during which time field data would have been collected and the information processed, therefore the proposed measures for the problems identified would have been late. The use of this innovative “fish telemedicine” method can help aquaculture unit owners/administrators to avoid the large losses that would be caused by the microscopic “enemies” from the aquatic environments.

   Malina Pond, located in Galati county, between Sendreni and Smardan localities, Malina pond has a total area of 120.86 ha of which 118.46 ha of water surface. Having as owner the National Agency for Fisheries and Aquaculture and as administrator SC Grig Impex 94 SRL, the Malina fish farm is registered in the register of Aquaculture Units under no. RUA0024 being licensed for the production of fish for consumption from the species: indigenous and Asian cyprinids and predatory species. In the spring of 2010, it was populated with two tons of carp between 0.5 and 2 kilograms, with three tons of grass carp between 2 and 15 kilograms, as well as with ten tons of prussian carp and four tons of slightly larger carp, between 3 and 5 kilograms. The arrangement also includes 8 pontoons, which can be rented for sport fishing in season.

Potcoava 2 pond, located on the administrative area of Branistea commune, 25 km from Galati city, with an area of 17.3508 ha, Potcoava 2 pond is rich in vegetation and has a lot of reeds being quite deep between 2m on the shore and 4m offshore. Genetically, the Potcoava pond is an abandoned lake of the Siret (or meander), which could not be drained due to the damming of the lower Siret meadow, due to its larger surface and depth and due to the close connection with the groundwater layer. The name of the pond Potcoava comes from the unusual and interesting shape of the water, similar to a horseshoe. Being included in the special avifauna protection area ROSPA0071 Lunca Siretului inferior, with a wetland habitat, with Thypha and Phragmites and feeding and breeding habitat for waterfowl and waders, Potcoava 2 pond was until 2019 in the custody of the Association for the Conservation of Diversity Biological Vrancea. The pond is populated with many species of fish, representing a special attraction for fishing enthusiasts. Currently, Potcoava 2 Pond is leased by SC ADY SRL, aquaculture unit registered in the register of aquaculture units under RUA number 1434 – hatchery. The total area of the pond and the water surface is 17.3508 ha, with 1 single basin. The company is licensed for the production of fish for consumption from the species: indigenous cyprinids: carp, prussian carp, asp and Asian cyprinids: bighead carp, grass carp, sturgeons: russian sturgeon, sterlet, stellate sturgeon, predatory species: northern pike, pike perch, european perch, catfish and crustaceans: crayfish.

Lessons learned during the implementation of the research in Romania


Ensuring scientifically based management of living aquatic resources, reducing the pressure on resources exerted by fishing, practicing sustainable aquaculture and preserving biodiversity, development and diversification of environmentally friendly and innovative technologies for aquaculture to increase production and obtain products with high biological value, diversification of aquaculture production by introducing new, economically valuable species, developing traditional aquaculture, encouraging producers to apply environmentally friendly methods, and ensuring traceability throughout the value chain, including the introduction of environmental, health, and hygiene standards are lessons learned during the implementation of the research in Romania.

River transport has an economic importance because this type of transport refers to the delivery of goods or people by means of boats, otherwise known as ships in the vast majority. Rivers or canals are what make up the water transport infrastructure.

There are a number of advantages that accompany this popular method of transport. When opting for river transport, the more efficient development of industries that have mass goods transported by water, at affordable prices, as raw material is favoured (this includes the various well-known industrial sectors: non-ferrous and ferrous metallurgy, steel industry, the processing industry of oil, shipbuilding, energy, chemical, petrochemical, glass industry, etc.).

Maritime transport plays and will continue to play an essential role in world trade and economy. But, maritime activity generates structural pollution from the works and activities that help create and maintain ports. Harbor maintenance activities can lead to water pollution. Materials that are used for cleaning and painting installations or ships have enormous toxic potential for the marine environment. Projects to develop jetties or container storage and handling areas can disrupt the marine ecosystem. However, its impact on the environment is not at all negligible.

In the conditions of our country, the development of naval transport is greatly favoured by the existence of more than 200 km of coastline on the Black Sea, in communication, through the Mediterranean Sea, with all the world’s oceans, and so on. 1200 km of inland waterways, of which the Danube provides the connection with most Central European countries. In the last decades, numerous and remarkable constructions and arrangements have been made in the field of water transport.

Also, the development of recreational areas, reservoirs for hydropower plants, dams, and irrigation is taking place at a more advanced pace. It is also a way to stimulate investments from other economic branches aimed at economic growth, the creation of new jobs, etc.

Although Romania has a variety of natural and cultural attractions that have the potential to become tourist experiences of national and international interest, the tourist offer is not mature enough in relation to international competition.

Cruise tourism is poorly developed due to the lack of well-developed tourist ports and navigability problems.

This fact can be largely caused by the limited support of the entrepreneurship, and poor funding given to the private sector for cooperation, innovation, and upgrading.

Romania is still lagging behind the rest of Europe in terms of development maritime tourism, and the acceleration of the “catch up” process through innovative solutions and new models of a providing and consuming travel experiences will be particularly important.

Vital needs to effectively ensure the next steps of this project.


Starting from the specific objectives of this project, namely “Strengthening the capacity of SMEs and start-ups from the target sectors to identify and tap into potential public/private investors; improving the visibility of investment opportunities in the target sectors from the Black Sea region and capacity of public/private investors to identify SMEs and start-ups; develop stakeholder capacity to establish/enhance concrete cooperation and networking approaches and methods to improve the business environment and strengthen value chains”, the vital needs to ensure the next steps it would be a good visibility of the project by promoting it in all ways, and the awareness of the importance of Blue Economy, among the population, the stakeholders and not the least, the potential investors.

Also, identifying and providing the necessary advisory in order to access the financial support from non-reimbursable funds, to accelerate business, such as aquaculture development, to improve navigability on the Danube and to modernize the infrastructures ports, for the competitiveness, and for the sustainability of the Blue Economy sector.

Bringing to the attention of those interested examples of good practice and success stories, as a model to follow.

*This Project has received funding from the European Union’s European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund (EMFAF) under Grant Agreement 101077576.

**Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or CINEA. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.

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