Fisheries Areas Network

Country Factsheet

Estonia - 8 FLAGs - 30.9 M€

Fishing has always been an important economic and social activity in Estonia, in both coastal and inland areas. The main challenges that CLLD has to address in Estonia’s fisheries areas are ensuring balanced territorial development of fisheries areas and supporting the restructuring of the small-scale fisheries sector. To address these, the eight Estonian FLAGs mainly focus on increasing the value of local fisheries products – including through small-scale processing and marketing activities; supporting fishermen to diversify their activities; creating or restoring spawning grounds; and social welfare activities.

CLLD Programme

CLLD Context: 

Although the fisheries sector accounts for just 0.5% of gross domestic product (GDP), fishing has always been an important economic and social activity in Estonia, in both coastal and inland areas. The Estonian fisheries sector includes three main activities: fishing, fish farming and fish processing and marketing. In addition to fishing, the collection of red algae and the production of agar-agar are also important activities in coastal fisheries areas, providing an additional source of income for fisherman in the off-season.

2014 figures show 2 603 FTEs working in fisheries, including 333 in small scale fisheries, 164 in trawling fisheries in the Baltic Sea, 90 in long distance fisheries, 1 971 in processing and 45 in fish farming (species such as rainbow trout, eel and salmon).

Contact details of the managing authority can be found here.

More information about national EMFF programmes can be found here.


Axis 4 achievements (2007-2013): 

During the 2007- 2013 programming period, Estonia had eight FLAGs, which attracted a high level of interest from local stakeholders, especially fishermen.

The FLAGs focused on solving community problems, supporting small harbour renovations, diversification, adding value to local fisheries products and marketing, revitalization of coastal villages, improving working conditions for fisherman, and boosting the local economy.

The impact of Axis 4 support, and the involvement and cooperation of local administrations, businesses and fishermen, has been very positive for fisheries communities. It has also helped to establish FLAGs as recognized partners that represent the interests of small scale fisheries at national level. 

CLLD objectives and challenges for 2014-2020: 

The main challenges that community-led local development will have to address in Estonia’s fisheries areas in the coming years are:

  • Ensuring balanced territorial development of fisheries areas;
  • To support the restructuring of the small-scale fisheries sector.

To cope with these challenges, the objectives for CLLD in Estonia 2014-2020 will mainly focus:

  • Renovation of small fishing ports and revival and strengthening of economic activity in small harbours;
  • Increasing the value of local fisheries products – including through small scale processing and marketing activities.;
  • Supporting fishermen to diversify their activities;
  • Creation or restoration of spawning grounds;
  • Social welfare activities, including promoting fisheries and maritime cultural heritage;
  • Cooperation between FLAGs.

In the period 2014-2020, CLLD in fisheries will ensure continuity for the eight FLAGs. The total budget for CLLD and average budget per FLAG has remained stable.

CLLD Budget

Total budget: 
€30 920 088
  • EMFF budget for CLLD: 
    €26 282 074
  • Co-funding: 
    €4 638 014
  • Proportion of CLLD in EMFF budget: 
Number of FLAGs: 
Average budget per FLAG: 
€3 865 011

National Network

In the 2007-2013 programming period, the network was managed by the Rural Economy Research Centre. It focused on organising events, collecting, analysing and disseminating knowledge on fisheries area development, and on carrying out promotional activities. The National network was operational until the end of 2015.

Since January 2016, the Fisheries Information Centre has taken over the work of the National network. Its objectives are:

  • To promote the exchange of knowledge and experience between fisheries organisations, FLAGs and public authorities
  • To support the initiation and further development of cooperation, for example by organising thematic meetings and training for the FLAGs
  • To support research and pilot projects for the fisheries sector
  • To popularise fishing, coastal fisheries and fish consumption. The NN organises different events in cooperation with FLAGs every year
  • To disseminate Estonian experiences at the EU level and to share EU experiences at the local level in Estonia
  • To help FLAGs develop, evaluate and implement their strategies

Total budget and workforce: 2 people are working for the FLAGs (full time) and the budget for 7 years is 830 000 EUR (this is not only for FLAGs, this budget also includes consulting tasks for the whole Estonian fishing industry)

Click here for the National Network contact details.


For the EMFF funding period, Estonian FLAGs were particularly active in both national and transnational cooperation. A total of 126 cooperation projects were reported by the managing authority by December 2021. These included a large-scale cooperation project between Baltic FLAGs to increase the knowledge on the impact of growing seal and cormorant populations on small-scale coastal fisheries as well as cooperation between Estonian and Finnish FLAGs and Leader LAGs to promote youth exchanges around fisheries and coastal heritage.  

For information on how cooperation was programmed and organised in Estonia, click here. 

Delivery of CLLD

Key actors and roles: 

Of the eight FLAG areas in Estonia, two are situated on the islands of Hiiumaa and Saaremaa, four are located along the Baltic coast, and there are two inland FLAGs around the country’s biggest lakes, Vortsjarve and Peipus.

The funding application process: 

An integrated approach with the other ESI Funds is ensured at the national level, indeed planning and budgeting of all funds are integrated processes and are part of one state budget strategy. 


Code Name Region Surface area (km²) Population Population density (per km²) Employment in fisheries*
EE201 Virumaa FLAG
1885 91885 49 261
EE202 Harju FLAG 1781 72011 40 700
EE203 Läänemaa FLAG 2383 24730 12 450
EE204 Hiiukala FLAG
1032 9550 9 63
EE205 Saaremaa FLAG
2922 33481 12 710
EE206 Parnu FLAG
2078 63359 38 682
EE207 Lake Võrtsjärve FLAG 2424 24240 10 296
EE208 Lake Peipsi FLAG
3286 32028 10 482
(*)according to the information received from the FLAG


Publication date: 
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