During the first 18 months of the GAP2 project, fisheries stakeholder meetings have been planned and conducted as “mutual learning events”. We have concurrently developed the BaltFishPlan web application, which we’re using to provide visual information during these events.
Mutual Learning Events
We conducted our first mutual learning event on 7th December 2011, at the Annual Meeting of Estonian Fisheries Network Organization in Sagadi, Estonia. Within that meeting, fishing industry representatives realized that they held a common interest with environmental NGOs in protecting the Baltic Sea Essential Fish Habitats –in particular, the fish spawning grounds of the shallow coastal sea areas.
On 28th June 21012, the Saaremaa Island’s fisheries stakeholder’s meeting in Kuressaare brought together fishing and local government representatives.Critical issues for the integration of the fishing industry into the marine spatial planning process were identified as:
- The need for more precise delimitation of the coastline and marine boundaries.
- Conflict between the open sea trawl fishing fleet and the coastal fixed gear seasonal fishery.
- Conflict over resource use between professional and recreational fishers
- The worrying state of some Baltic Sea fishery resources resulting in less and less fishing.
Fisheries stakeholders, supported by Saaremaa County Government, are now mapping the spawning, nursery and fishing grounds of most important coastal fish species. The results will be discussed during the next stakeholder meeting with Saaremaa Island’s fisheries stakeholders in Autumn 2012.
On 13th September, we plan to meet with the Hiiumaa Island’s fisheries stakeholders in Kärdla, in order to discuss the practical integration of the fishing industry into the process of Maritime Spatial Planning. In Hiiumaa, this is a “hot topic”, because the Government of Estonia has recently decided to authorize the County Government to conduct the first real Marine Spatial Planning of the marine waters around the Hiiumaa Island.
Accordingly, the fisheries stakeholders are keen to develop credible, relevant and sound arguments to be used in balancing environmental, economic and social interests when participating in the Marine Spatial Planning process. We look forward to working with them.