Strunjan Landscape Park is the managing authority of the largest Marine Protected Area in Slovenia. The Park is in the process of adopting a management plan of the area which is based on a cooperation mechanism with local artisanal fishermen. A project financed in the framework of the 2014 MedPAN Call for Small Project aims at drafting a formal agreement between the Park and local artisanal fishermen.
This project aims at establishing an agreement between the different artisanal fisheries stakeholders (managers of MPA and artisanal fishermen) based on two constraints: on the one hand, it will define the commitment of fishermen to collaborate with the Park regarding capture monitoring and, on the other hand, it will introduce the possibility for the Park to adopt minor changes in the fishing regime of the area on a yearly basis. To do so, a climate of trust and close cooperation between the managing authority and the fishermen community has been established. Moreover, a collaboration with marine biologists and exchange of good practices with other European MPAs were conducted.
The project is divided into 6 parts:
Eight professional fishermen were selected at the beginning of the project. They signed a contract related to the implementation of project activities.
Artisanal fishermen were trained to identify marine species and a catch and by-catch reporting system was established. Different data were collected: fish capture data (e.g., target and non-target species, by-catch, less-known and endangered species), as well as general fishing data (e.g., type of nets, length, positions, fishing periods). This monitoring done in partnership with fishermen increased their level of knowledge of various marine species and fishing conditions. To date, 50% of the fishermen have been trained.
The study results were presented to the fishermen and communicated to external experts from the Marine Biology Station. The conditions for the implementation of the agreement between MPA and fishermen were defined (collaboration, adaptation of fisheries management measures; e.g., opening and closing time of fishing in the area). Therefore, the management plan was adapted according to the results obtained during the project’s previous phase.
The final agreement was prepared during the activities described above. The artisanal fishermen should sign it before the end of the project.
A 2-day long seminar, “Good practice on co-management of fisheries resources” was organised in Strunjan. The Sand-eel co-management project and experiences of the neighboring MPA of Miramare were presented to local and national marine and fishery affairs managers, fishermen and scientists. The conference was well covered by the media.
A subpage on the Park’s website was created. It contains information about the project and some news.
The project is spread over a period of 18 months. It is funded by the FFEM and the MAVA and Prince Albert II of Monaco foundations in the framework of the MedPAN Call for Small Projects 2014 (€19,950 €). All in all, the project received a € 26,600 endowment.