The conference was held according to the project “Development of cooperation of the small-scale fishing sector in the countries of the Baltic shore by exchanging good practice during cognitive meetings and development of information base in virtual space” funded by the European Union funds, on 29 August 2017, in Mingė village, Šilutė district (Lithuania), with participation of fishermen-entrepreneurs from Lithuania and Latvia, fishing and the Baltic Sea coast and in inland waters, Lithuanian academic representatives, and the Lithuanian Minister of Agriculture.
During the conference, the participants presented the project, its goals and objectives, the problems of the previous conferences held on 23 August 2016 in Liepaja (Latvia), 17 November 2016 in Ustka (Poland) and 4 April 2017 in Pärnu (Estonia), and discussed about the activities carried out by Polish fishermen and the peculiarities of fishing.
The researchers presented the following topics:
- Change in the Baltic Sea coastal terrain due to the impact of moving sand and the impact of change on fish migration.
- Fishing opportunities in Lithuanian waters and relations between amateur fishermen and fishermen-entrepreneurs.
The issues raised at previous conferences were also discussed:
- Development of opportunities for co-operation in the small-scale Baltic coastal fisheries sector.
- Prevalence of the invasive fish – grundal ruboil (Neogobius melanostomus) in the Baltic Sea coast.
- Damage caused by seals to fishermen.
In discussing the possibilities for cooperation between fishermen, the participants of the conference admitted that such cooperation should be and is of particular importance when dealing with the common problems of fishermen on which decisions in the institutions of the European Union are passed.
It was stated that the problem raised by the fishermen regarding the invasive fish – grundal ruboil has not been solved in Lithuania and in Latvia to this day. Fishermen could catch a larger amount of this fish, but it is not feasible for them because of seasonality and rapidly dropping market prices as it does not even cover the cost.
When presenting the problem of damage caused by seals in Latvia, Lithuanian fishermen informed that Lithuania already has a mechanism for payment compensations to the coastal fishermen.
The question raised by the Polish fishermen about the damage caused by cormorants was also highly relevant to fishermen fishing in Lithuanian and Latvian inland waters. In the opinion of the participants, the European Union institutions should dedicate more attention to this problem.
When discussing the possibility of cooperation among fishermen from other countries, it was noted that the acquisition of vessels and fishing gear is very relevant for all fishermen. It has been noted that most of the time, fishermen do not have sufficient amount of money to buy new gear, therefore, they are looking for second-hand equipment that they buy in other countries as well. This would require an online database for advertising the sale of second-hand equipment. Such online database should cover several countries.