March 2019

Posting objectives as Greeks and Cypriots gather to share ideas and experiences

March saw the Greek and Cypriot FLAGs come together in Athens for a capacity building meeting organised by the FARNET and FAME Support Units and the Greek Ministry of Fisheries. Having seen an increase from 11 FLAGs in the 2007-2013 period to 30 in the current period, the majority of FLAGs in Greece are new and have much to learn about working with the fisheries sector. In Cyprus too, the number of FLAGs has tripled from one to three.
This meeting offered an opportunity for these new groups to learn from the experienced ones, including during a project fair where five longstanding FLAGs presented adding value, tourism and environmental projects. These included one launching processing activities to produce fish roe and smoked fish roe, and another fisherman-led project offering tourists rides in a glass-bottom boat.
A strong focus of the meeting was about putting in place systems to monitor and evaluate the results of FLAG strategies. Illustrated with a board full of Post-It notes, the FLAGs highlighted a number of objectives they had in their areas, such as improving local services and the quality of life, better using their environmental resources to support entrepreneurship and adding value locally to their fisheries products instead of simply exporting fish wholesale.
Training and networking – for fishermen and the young were also recurring themes of importance among the Greek and Cypriot FLAGs, who then worked through what sort of indicators might be used to measure their success.

Waste project PRisMa-MED takes its first step with Sardinian fishermen

Local fishermen from the harbour at Isola Rossa on the north-west coast of Sardinia are all onboard with PRiSMa-MED, an initiative aimed at innovating in governance and integrating management of waste at commercial ports. The survey carried out with the fishermen represents  PRiSMa-MED in action for the first time.
PRiSMa-MED is a European Interreg Maritime project involving the North Sardinia FLAG. The Italian FLAG met with the fishermen at the harbour in March to explain PriSMa-MED’s objectives, and its relevance to their daily work. The next step will be analyzing the waste at the harbour and on the fishermen’s vessels.
These fishermen should be among the main beneficiaries of the project, alongside port area managers, aquaculture farmers and circular economy businesses. PRiSMa-MED covers three regions in Italy – Liguria, Tuscany and Sardinia – and Corsica in France. Overall, the intention is to improve the environmental, logistical and sanitary conditions of port areas in these regions through creating a “waste management chain”. Ecological islands for waste collection will be created. The circular economy also plays a large role, with plans to develop ways to use waste from fisheries and aquaculture.
The project will run until the end of March 2021 and has a budget of 1,95million euros.

Other news

FLAG-related artefacts displayed at EU’s High-Level Ocean Conference

Showing off items created through FLAG-supported projects helps to spread the word about the valuable work FLAGs do. We had the opportunity to do just that at an event organised by the European Parliament and European Commission. “Oceans: The Future of the Blue Planet” at the European Parliament on 19 March was a forum to discuss global ocean governance; sustainable blue economy; and healthy, clean seas and oceans. The FARNET stand showcased Lower Saxon North Sea coast FLAG’sFishing For Litter” bag; artisanal seafood produced with the help of Mariña-Ortegal FLAG; and handbags made by Galician net-makers. We were proud to explain FLAG work and show the items to conference attendees and speakers – including Special Envoy of the President of the European Parliament on Maritime Affairs, Gesine Meissner, and Director-General of the European Commission’s Directorate General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, João Aguiar Machado. See the pictures here.

Review of Local Development Strategy is key theme of Italian FLAG meeting

A one-day meeting in Rome this March saw Italian FLAGs and regional administrations reflecting on achievements so far, as well as discussing future approaches. For the first time, a number of FLAGs presented their projects, showing the progress of CLLD and the initial results. The programming period is halfway through and it is a good time to focus on reviewing FLAG strategies. Adapting them to new contexts in the FLAG areas could be useful for a variety of reasons, such as the availability of other instruments or emerging consequences of the economic crisis on potential beneficiaries. Also, the experience of the first calls for projects may have revealed new challenges and opportunities.

French FLAG sets challenge at hackathon on sea and coastline innovation

“Reveal and value industrial waste sources” – that was the task set by the Opale Coast FLAG (FR) at Weekend Innovation Mer & Littoral. The team taking up the challenge was comprised of some of the more than 100 international attendees at the event in Boulogne-sur-Mer (France). The “hackathon”-style gathering was held at the Centre Universitaire de Capécure Boulogne-sur-Mer between 14-16 March and supported by the Region Hauts-de-France and the Opale Coast FLAG. All 13 challenges dealt with real economic issues. Teams were encouraged to think creatively and use a number of tools, such as prototype design, market studies and business plans. Participants were offered several masterclasses to help enhance their skills. At the end of the weekend, the teams with the best solutions were awarded a prize. Amongst the winning ideas was an app showing the location of fishing traps, allowing fishermen to cooperate and coordinate their catches, and preventing equipment from being carried by trawls or damaged by other fishing gear.

Slovenian Managing Authority organises FLAG meeting focused on aquaculture

This programming period (2014-2020) sees the addition of three new FLAGs in Slovenia, which unlike the one FLAG with 2007-2013 experience, are inland FLAGs exclusively dealing with aquaculture. In order to support the FLAGs in implementing their strategies, the Managing Authority has launched a series of activities. The latest meeting in March saw all four FLAGs gathering in Ljubljana to share ideas on how to tackle the challenges faced by Slovenia’s aquaculture sector. FARNET Support Unit showed attendees examples of successful FLAG projects related to aquaculture from other countries and helped facilitate a workshop session that produced draft Action Plans and some interesting project ideas.

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