Original source data of the Agency for Restructuring and Modernisation of Agriculture as a state institution connected with those projects were used, and com-parative analysis method was applied to draw cognitive and practical conclusions.
In the discussion of results, secondary presented in literature were also used. In the course of data processing, descriptive and tabular statistics methods were applied.
Results and discussion
Fish market organisation
The Poland’s accession to the EU was connected with the necessity of carrying out reorganisation of the fish market scattered, among others, due to privatisation of the fishing fleet in the 90s. Legal foundations of the new organisation of the Polish fish market consistent with the EU legislation were set in the Act of 2004. This Act specified and agreed on a number of the key rules referring to efficient functioning of the fish market. First of all, it determined the conditions for introduction of fishery products onto the market, as well as the rules for taking up interventionist activities on the fish market. The Act determined also the rules for creation and functioning of fish producer organisations or inter-branch organisations, according to which the right for establishing producer organisations is vested to fishing vessel ship-owners and fish breeders who have appropriate market potential. Since the Poland’s accession to the EU, only 6 producer organisations (PO) have been entered into the register, the activity of which is very limited up to this time. This happens regardless of the available forms of financial support which can be applied for by PO.
Despite the lapse of five years, an attempt to create institutional bases for the functioning of fish market in Poland was not successful. The sale of fish according to propositions had to be concentrated on fish auctions operating in Ustka, Władysławowo and Kołobrzeg. In reality, however, only the fish auction in Ustka was able to fulfil its functions, though not without problems. Similar situation was in case of First Sale Local Centres (FSLC), the formation of which in five coastal towns, i.e. in Ustka, Kołobrzeg, Władysławowo, Hel and Darłowo, had to contribute to the improvement of fish loading conditions in fishing ports. Until 2007, only the Ustka FSLC was able to carry on any activity, while fish sales was taking place for the most part based on direct contracts concluded between the owners of fishing vessels and agents or processors. This problem was not eliminated in the 2004–2009 period, which contributed, among others, to development of a substantial discrepancy between fish first sale prices and the retail price paid by consumer.
The launching of structural funds for the Polish fishery became possible in September 2004. Within the framework of Sectorial Operational Programme «Fishery and fish processing 2004–2006» (SOP Fish), it was possible to apply for funding the projects connected with implementation of a number of goals of the fishing policy; the most important ones included, as follows:
– full utilisation of the allocated catch limits while maintaining their maximum use for consumption purposes;
– development of fishing ports and harbours;
– improvement of the quality of fish and fish products, and the increase of value added fish and fish products;
– activation of fishing-dependent and fish-rearing- and fish-breeding-dependent areas;
– increase of fish consumption in Poland and improvement of market supply in saltwater and freshwater fish and their products;
– development of fishery product first sale and distribution.
The financial means allocated within the framework of SOP Fish contributed considerably to the transformation of the Polish fishery. Up to the end of June 2008, 3807 contracts were concluded on implementation of investments, the total value of which amounted to about PLN 1.6 milliard, almost a half of which was community funds.
The vast majority of financed investments were connected with fish processing sector. They referred mostly to modernisation of plants, purchase of means of transport and construction of quality control systems, and quite often the assistance was connected with the projects of constructing new plants from the ground up.
The next activity with large funds allocated to it within the framework of SOP Fish was the scrapping of fishing vessels implemented within the policy of limiting fishing fleet capacity in the Baltic Sea. The value of contracts on ship-breaking (444 vessels to the mid-2008) amounted to PLN 373 million. Furthermore, PLN 54 million was allocated to compensation payments for about 1400 fishermen leaving the profession due to disposal of fishing vessels (about PLN 37 thousand per person).
Table. The SOP activities «Fishery and fish processing» and the budget allocated to this activity for 2004–2006.
Source: Agency for Restructuring and Modernisation of Agriculture (2007).
The reduction of fishing fleet carried out this way brought about permanent changes in the Polish fishery. The ship-breaking contributed not only to a decrease in the fishing capacity but also significantly affected the level of employment in the fishing sector. Owing to compensations for the loss of work-place in result of the ship-breaking, fishermen had a chance of retraining and taking up another professional activity. Within the implementation of SOP Fish, 26% fishermen utilised allocated money on business activity not related to fishing, such as tourism or catering busi-ness. On the other hand, 35% fishermen decided on near fishing activity, namely on the investments in fish processing or purchase of equipment for other fishing vessels. In next years, the European Commission plans to support the reduction of fishing fleet by another 30% within the increased financial means allocated for this purpose in the 2007–2013 plan. Despite a 40% reduction that has taken place until now, this is necessary because the fishing potential is still large in relation to fish stock.
Fish processing and external policy
Fish processing is one of the most dynamically developing sectors of food industry in Poland. There is no doubt that this happened owing to possibilities which opened up before Poland at a time of accession to the EU. The unprecedented so far rate of development in fish processing sector in 2004-2009 would not take place if there were no investment possibilities which arose owing to funding within the SAPARD and SOP Fish programmes. Similarly, the Polish fish products would not have any chance for expansion which is taking place at the present scale without accession to the internal market of the EU and opening of borders, also the land ones, for the Polish fish products. Since the Poland’s accession to the EU, a rapid growth took place in the volume and the value of fish processing plants. This happened in spite of relatively small number of companies operating in the processing branch (about 240). At the beginning of 2008, the value of fish products sold amounted to more than PLN 4.5 million, the same doubling in relation to 2003.
Diagram. Quantity and value of production of fish processing firms.
Źródło: Rozwój rynku rybnego I zmiany jego funkcjonowania w latach 1990–2007, IERiGŻ, 2008 r.
Increase in the production volume in fish processing was possible due to very dynamic increase in export sales. At the beginning of 2008, the export share in branch total revenue amounted to over 50%. The same, the value of exported fish and fish products exceeded PLN 2.5 milliard. This was twice larger value when compared to the period before Poland’s accession to the EU. After accession, the main direction of export was the EU member states, in particular Germany, Denmark and Great Britain. The share in the value of trade exchange with those countries increased from 57–75% in the pre-accession period to 90% in 2008. The dynamics of fish processing and smoked fish export development, which took place after the Poland’s accession to the UE, deserves particular attention. In this branch, until 2007, a fivefold increase in smoked salmon sales was observed in relation to 2003. Therefore, it is possible to state that these fish products systematically captured the European markets, enjoying a particular popularity in Denmark, Italy, France, and first of all in Germany, where Poland achieved an 80% share in the overall value of supplies, ousting the same the suppliers from other countries.
Furthermore, a significant increase in the fish import which accompanies the flourishing of export deserves attention. In 2007, about 380 thousand tonnes of fish and fish products were imported from abroad, with a value of PLN 2.8 milliard. In relation to 2003, this constituted an over 50% increase as far as the quantity is concerned and an 84% increase in terms of the value. In result, despite a high level of export, Poland is reporting now a negative balance in the turnover of fish and fish product trade, becoming a net importer. At present, Poland’s main trade partners are the EU member states, such as Denmark, Germany. Holland and Great Britain, as well as Norway, Island and developing countries, such as China (Alaska pollock), Vietnam (sutchi catfish), Thailand (tuna fish) and Argentina (hake).
The success of the Polish fish processing sector in recent years manifested also in the systematic growth of employment. Owing to very good financial results and high profitability of production plants in 2003–2007, an almost 40% increase in employment was possible. At present, the number of people working in this branch is running to over 4 thousand.
However, despite unquestionable development and progress which took place in the fish sector during the last few years, there is still a large distance between Poland and highly developed countries of the EU. The fact that the value of sold production per one employee in 2006 was 3.3 times lower than in Germany is evidence of this. Shortages with respect to application of technology, effectiveness or organisation of production contribute mainly to this situation.
After five years of the EU membership, the evaluation of changes existing so far explicitly shows that the profits [benefits] achieved by agriculture together with fishery in result of accession definitely surpass the incurred costs. This was possible owing mainly to the utilisation of financial means from the community funds as well as the opening of markets in other member states.
The CFP mechanisms changed the functioning of respective agricultural markets. Production limits, export support and access to the internal market affected modification of demand-supply conditions. In association with considerable financial flows, these changes resulted in a decisive improvement of agricultural incomes, in particular in small farms. However, despite a number of positive changes, this is these smallest farms that remain the main problem of the Polish agriculture. In a long run, they will not be able to acquire incomes assuring an adequate level of subsistence and means for further investments. The improvement of conditions for running agricultural activity as well as the system of direct payments per hectare of land drastically affected an increase in the level of agricultural land prices. However, the fears of land repurchase by foreigners common before accession did not come true. The interest in purchasing both agricultural and forest land and so called second houses did not increase significantly.
The EU membership was connected with adoption of the European model of agriculture which is based not only on the implementation of treaty goals to support income. The objective of European agriculture is to improve production competitiveness while maintaining sustainable management of resources. Therefore, the economic stimuli implemented within the framework of CFP increased the care about natural environment and well-being of farm animals, as well as about protection of biodiversity. The entrance into the EU had a positive influence on implementation of the concept of multifunctional development of the countryside. A number of activities were prepared, allowing development of entrepreneurship in rural areas as well as development of countryside cultural values.
In case of food industry, the inclusion of Poland into common market structure was of particular importance, being at the same time both a great challenge (growing competition from the side of imported food products on the national market) and a chance (new output markets). The food plants succeeded in coping with quality and safety standards and, while using their advantage (mainly cost-related one), took advantage of suitable new opportunities. After accession, the export of agricultural and food products increase decisively, mainly to other EU countries. In 2009, this dynamics weakened but positive trade balance is still maintained.
The positive influence of accession on changes in agriculture is confirmed by public opinion polls. Since the mid-2006, a belief has been prevailing that farmers are a social group which profited the most by accession to the EU. According to the polls carried out by the Gfk Polonia market research agency in 2008, up to 2/3 of interviewees (64%) was of the opinion that the EU membership had a good influence on the situation in the Polish agriculture. Also the polls of the CBOS public opinion research centre demonstrate that agriculture – according to public opinion – is a dominant field which earned the most (75%).
The accession to the EU brought far-reaching changes in the Polish fishery in many aspects. In the first place, deep transformations were connected with the necessity of adapting the fishery management to the requirements of fish stock protection in the Baltic Sea. With this end in view, Poland reduced considerably its fishing potential through disposal of 40% of its fishing fleet as well as bringing under the limitations such as strictly observed catch quota or temporary fishing bans. These activities changed permanently the appearance of the Polish fishery, incorporating it into the broad framework of the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy.
Moreover, the flourishing of the Polish fish processing sector, which increased its incomes fivefold when compared to the pre-accession period, was possible owing to the Poland’s accession to the EU. The accession to the EU’s common market allowed dynamic development of the export of fish products onto the markets of member states, which have at present a 90% share in directions of the Polish supplies. Nevertheless, one should not forget that the Polish fish processing – despite positive changes – still requires improvement, in particular with respect to technology, effectiveness and organisation of production, and that despite an increase in export the balance of turnover in the foreign trade is negative due to advantage in import.
Literature 1. Kuzebski, E. Wpływ członkostwa Polski w Unii Europejskiej na sektor rybołówstwa. Ekspertyza przygotowana na zlecenie UKIE / E. Kuzebski. Warszawa, 2008 r.
2. Marciniak, B. Ocena skuteczności realizacji programu redukcji floty rybackiej / B. Marciniak // Wiadomości Rybackie №9–10. 2008 r.
3. Rozwój rynku rybnego i zmiany jego funkcjonowania w latach 1990–2007, IERiGŻ, Warszawa. 2008 r.