In the early 20th century, 40,000-60,000 European mink were caught annually in the Soviet Union for the fur trade, an estimate which exceeds the modern global population.
The European mink was largely in the fur trade during the first half of the 20th century and was trapped for commercial purposes.
The European mink was historically hunted extensively, particularly in Russia, where in some districts, the decline prompted a temporary ban on mink hunting to let the population recover.
In the early 20th century, 40–60,000 European minks were caught annually in the Soviet Union, with a record of 75,000 individuals, an estimate which exceeds the modern global European mink population. In Finland, annual mink catches reached 3,000 specimens in the 1920s. In Romania, 10,000 minks were caught annually around 1960. However, this reason alone cannot account for the decline in areas where hunting was less intense, such as in Germany.