Report of international conference

4 April 2017

 Pernu, Estonia


Project: „Development of cooperation in the field of small-scale fishing on the Baltic coast through exchanges of good practices during meetings as well as creation of online information base funded by the EU and the association “Šilutė local action group of the fishery“.

Aim of meeting: to develop the international cooperation of small-scale fishing and exchange of good practices by organizing a conference where fishermen-businessmen from Lithuania and Estonia, who fish on the Baltic coast and internal waters, participated.

Program of conference:

  1. Theoretical part.

The essence, objectives, tasks, and deliverables of the project were introduced in the conference.

The problems of small-scale fishermen, which were raised in conferences held on 23 August 2016 in Liepoja (Latvia) and on 17 November 2016 in Ustka (Poland) were introduced as well as the commercial fishing activity of Estonian fishermen and its peculiarities.

The following topics were analysed in the conference:

  1. Development of cooperation in the field of small-scale fishing on the Baltic coast.
  2. Prevalence of invasive fish – roly-poly goby (Neogobius melanostomus) on the Baltic coast.
  3. Harm to commercial fishing made by seals.
  4. Application of excise tax for fuel.
  5. Harm to commercial fishing and fish stocks made by cormorants.
  6. Popularization of fish consumption.

  1. Practical part. Discussions and conclusions.
  1. Development of cooperation possibilities in the field of small-scale fishing on the Baltic coast.

After the discussion on the possibilities of cooperation among fishermen from different countries, the participants agreed that the cooperation between neighbouring countries is extremely important when the cooperation is carried out among the representatives of specialised activity i.e. fishermen engaged in commercial fishing (in this case those who fish on the Baltic coast and internal waters). It was noticed that when the fishermen from target countries fish on the Baltic coast and internal waters by fishing method and caught fish face similar problems.

With the analysis on how such communication and cooperation may take place and how the problems may be analysed effectively and quickly the following possible solutions were highlighted:

  • Development of official status of joint activity, e., four countries (Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Poland) shall have a representative who, would be directly responsible for the provision, systemising and analysis of information related to fishery and commercial fishing. At present the employees of the project may provide the correct and analysed information only after analysing the legislative of the Republic of Lithuania on the regulation of fishing etc. The legal framework of each country is different. Moreover, there are difficulties and discrepancies in translation and direct communication with fishermen. It was also emphasized that the small fishing companies do not have their representatives in the EU institutions, who could raise questions on the problems in fishing companies, since mostly the problems of big fishing companies are resolved.
  • Employment of certain representatives (project administrators). To resolve the above-mentioned problems (awareness of legislative base of your own country, language barrier, direct communication in native language etc.) it would be appropriate to employ the people, who would be directly responsible for the implementation of the above-mentioned activities.
  • Separate accesses to the website administration. To increase the news flow of the website and relevant topics for each country, project administrators would get administration access to the account of represented country. The systemised data or information relevant to all target groups of the project would be translated into English and provided into all necessary languages. In this case, the problem of language barrier could be resolved. Moreover, each fisherman may get the information quickly and in detail.
  • Organization of direct international meetings. The participants of the conference agreed that the discussions among the meeting of conference participants are one of the most efficient forms of communication and cooperation. Therefore, the biggest funding would be intended for the organization of such events in the future.

Expected results after creating the international compound of joint activity:

  • More efficient search for problem solutions and implementation through the experience of other countries (through administrators during international meetings).
  • Representative(s) of joint compound, more appropriate expression of the opinion and possible influence on the resolutions made in the EU institutions since the problems encountered in several countries would be resolved not specific ones.
  • Increased possibilities of development and implementation of joint European projects, which could help the fishermen to use technological innovations and scientific knowledge better for the creation and development of their businesses.
  • Informative website available for fishermen in different countries.
  • Implementation of marketing measures for fish and its production, upholding of culinary or cultural heritage etc.
  1. Prevalence of invasive fish – roly-poly goby (Neogobius melanostomus) on the Baltic coast. After the introduction of the problem raised by Latvian and Polish fishermen on the prevalence of invasive fish – roly-poly goby in Polish and Latvian waters, the participants of the conference agreed that the population of this fish is constantly increasing which leads to the decrease of other kinds of fish (flounder, sprat etc.). Besides, the fishermen informed that no actions have been taken to reduce this prevalence.
  2. Harm to commercial fishing made by seals. After the introduction of problem in Latvia and Poland on the harm made by seals, Estonian fishermen were introduced to specific loss incurred by the Polish and Latvian fishermen. The pictures illustrating harm made by seals were shown to the participants. Lithuanian fishermen presented the compensation mechanism for the harm made to fishermen by the seals. However, all participants agreed that this resolution of problem does not reduce the increase of seals‘ population. Estonian fishermen stated that the seals‘ population is controlled in Estonia - it is allowed to hunt them. Therefore, this problem is not so relevant for them. It was decided to find out the basis which allows this activity.
  3. Application of excise tax for fuel. During conference Lithuanian fishermen expressed the opinion that small and very small fishing companies experience business discrimination in comparison with bigger ones due to the exemptions for buying fuel without excise tax, since they have to use ships with gasoline engines while fishing in coastal or internal waters. Polish fishermen do not see big problems here, since usually they use ships with diesel engines. They get exemptions for the tax-free purchase of fuel. Estonian fishermen agreed that the problem of gasoline excise reduction is also relevant to them. The target is to apply to the EU institutions for the opportunity to change the regulations which influence the size of gasoline excise.
    1. Harm to commercial fishing and fish stocks made by cormorants. One of the most acute problem for Polish, Latvian and Lithuanian fishermen was presented in the conference. It is the harm made by cormorants. It was emphasized that large population of cormorants influence the commercial fishing and the measures for the control of population applied until now were not efficient. This problem is relevant for Estonian fishermen as well. It was unanimously agreed that the EU institutions should pay more attention to this problem.
    2. Popularization of fish consumption. The participants of the conference agreed that today the decrease of the consumption of fish and its production is felt. Moreover, there are some difficulties to provide fish or its production as culinary or cultural heritage not only individually but on a large scale. There are difficulties in delivering the production for festivals and fairs. The participants of the conference suggest finding the opportunity to increase the promotion of cultural and/or culinary heritage through the exchange programs and on larger scale, to simplify the opportunities to promote the fish and its production in festivals and fairs as well as website through cooperation.

Project Manager                                                                                  Egidijus Narevičius

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