Fishing Tourism for a Sustainable Development in the Mediterranean area

TOURISMED is a project aimed at testing and transferring a fishing tourism business model in the coastal territories of Italy, Cyprus, Greece, Albania, France and Spain as a way to promote a sustainable approach to tourism, while fostering the preservation of the marine ecosystem and traditional fishing culture of the MED region.

These areas face the common challenge of finding new solutions for the worrying depletion of marine resources, the decline of the artisanal fishing sector and the negative impacts of tourism such as social dislocation, loss of cultural heritage and ecological degradation. As a response, the project objective is to promote fishing tourism as a sustainable coastal and maritime tourism practice in the MED area. Expected changes concern an improved use of resources by artisanal fishers, a diversification of income in the sector and a better valorisation of coastal traditional heritage and local seafood.

Furthermore, the project will produce a pilot test of the model and an evaluation tool to assess its replication in the concerned area. A training course will involve fishermen to implement the touristic itineraries in synergy with local tourism operators. The final model will be promoted by a web tool to clients willing to set up a fishing tourism business, while an interactive map of itineraries will be used to reach tourists. Protocols with public bodies and fishing associations (MoU)

The project overall objective is to promote fishing tourism as a sustainable coastal and maritime tourism practice in the MED area.

This objective contributes to achieve the programme specific objective by providing a tourism practice aimed to ensure sustainability under 3 levels.
  • Environment sustainability:

    Fishing tourism helps to streamline the use of resources through the diversification of production activities. Moreover, the use of sustainable artisanal fishing methods helps to preserve the marine habitat, do not cause permanent damage to the seabed and avoid by catch and discards as much as possible, while stressing the importance of consuming neglected species e.g. oily fish.

  • Social sustainability:

    Fishing tourism promotes Mediterranean maritime cultural heritage, fishing local products and traditions. Many fishing areas are located close to popular coastal tourist destinations, but the advantages of the growth often don’t reach fishing communities which risk to be marginalized. Fishing tourism can connect tourists with local communities offering a valuable experience both to customers and operators.

  • Economic sustainability:

    Fishing tourism can improve the economic condition of fishing communities in the MED area. The practice will enhance the enrichment of the touristic offer and new sources of income for fishermen. Fishing tourism can prevent young people from being forced out of the sector and encourage the participation of women in fishing related activities.

The specific objectives are:
  • To preserve and value Mediterranean maritime culture and artisanal fisheries traditions

    Fishing tourism will contribute to promote local maritime traditions and pursue their preservation, by allowing tourists to discover the coastal natural heritage while getting in touch with the life and the work of the fishermen and their equipage.

    The model proposed by the project will take into consideration the artisanal fisheries traditions in the concerned MED areas, valuing the local cultural identities and offering new attractive tourism services in the coastal areas. The outputs connected with this objective are a crowdsourcing web portal and a EuroMed Map promoting fishing tourism itineraries focused on the rich social, biological and cultural peculiarities of the coastal areas and artisanal fisheries in the Mediterranean Sea.

  • To contribute to local economies through innovative and alternative eco-tourism products

    Fishing tourism contributes to the economic growth by offering new sources of incomes and opportunities of employment. The project will produce a business model for implementing an entrepreneurial activity able to diversify revenues for fishermen and fishing communities. This will be promoted by a web portal which will act as a consultancy agency. Fishing tourism will also help MED regions to include services that are not strictly affected by the seasonality of tourism flows, as well as providing a different response to an increasing demand for sustainable tourism products. These activities can foster the cooperation between fishing, accommodation and gastronomy providers toward a conjoint offer thus benefiting all the local community.

  • To promote a sustainable use of marine ecosystems and fishing resources

    Fishing tourism favors practices that avoid the massive exploitation of fish resources and allow fish repopulation; only fishing techniques that don’t have a negative impact on the ecosystem can be used. Training will be delivered to fishermen, as the business activity needs to be in compliance with the current regulation for the maritime and coastal environment protection. Also, responsible consumption of seafood and fish products that do not cause harm to the marine ecosystem (i.e. oily fish) will be stressed to increase environmental awareness of both fishermen and customers. A MoU between public authorities and fishing tourism associations will include the sustainable criteria for managing marine ecosystems and fishing resource.

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